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OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS 



Federico Garcia Lorca 
Selected Poems 

A new translation by Martin Sorrell 
WITH PARALLEL SPANISH TEXT 




OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS 


SELECTED POEMS 


Federico Garcia Lorca was bom into a landowning family in 
the vale of Granada in 1898. Eleven years later, his family moved to 
Granada itself, the scene of his formative artistic and intellectual 
contacts. After abandoning early plans for a musical career, Federico 
turned to literature; Impressions and Landscapes appeared in 1918. A 
year later began his long association with the Residencia de Estudiantes 
in Madrid. Elis many friends there included the poets Guillen and 
Alberti, the future film director Bunuel, and most importantly for 
Lorca, Salvador Dali. Lorca’s early plays and poems draw on aspects 
of Andalusian tradition, but always as part of a sophisticated language 
of highly personal expression. Dali too encouraged him to make the 
exploration of his own unconscious a spur to more radical literary 
experiment. Thus when in 1928 his Gypsy Ballads achieved its out- 
standing popular success, Lorca had in a sense already moved 
beyond it. Partly in reaction to an unhappy homosexual love-affair 
he left Spain in 1929 to study at Columbia University. In the event 
his New York experiences sharpened his sense of crisis, confirming 
his sexual orientation and introducing new extremes of experiment 
into his writing: Poet in New York and the ‘unperformable’ drama, 
The Public. In 1 93 1 , the year following his return to Spain, the Second 
Republic was established. It brought Lorca a new commitment as 
director of the student theatre company ‘La barraca’, touring classic 
Spanish plays about the country. His literary projects of the early 
1930s included new poetic ventures — The Tamaril Divan; the Lament 
for his bullfighter friend, Ignacio Sanchez Mejias — and, in Blood 
Wedding , Yerma , and Doha Rosita the Spinster a new kind of theatre: 
poetic, radical, questioning, but also accessible and popular. His 
success in this, his broad identification with progressive public causes, 
and his seemingly inexhaustible creativity made the Republican years a 
rewarding time for him. That was cut short when, in August 1936, a 
few weeks into the Civil War, and soon after finishing The House of 
Bernarda Alba , he was arrested and murdered by the Nationalist 
authorities in Granada. 

Martin Sorrell is Emeritus Professor of Literary Translation at 
the University of Exeter, where he has spent most of his career teach- 
ing and researching French literature. For Oxford World’s Classics 
he has translated volumes of verse by Rimbaud and Verlaine. 

D. Garetii Walters is professor of Hispanic Studies at University 
of Wales, Swansea. He has written widely on Lorca and is the author of 
An Introduction to Spanish Poetry: Spain and Spanish America (2002). 



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OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS 


FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA 

Selected Poems 


Translated by 

MARTIN SORRELL 

With an Introduction and Notes by 

D. GARETH WALTERS 


OXFORD 


UNIVERSITY PRESS 



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Lorca and Martin Sorrell 2007 

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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data 
Data available 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 
Garcia Lorca, Federico, 1898-1936. 

[Poems. English. Selections] 

Selected poems / Federico Garcia Lorca; translated by Martin Sorrell; with an 
introduction and notes by D. Gareth Walters. 

p. cm. — (Oxford world’s classics) 

Includes bibliographical references and index. 

ISBN-13: 978-0-19-280565-2 (alk. paper) 1. Garcia Lorca, Federico, 1898— 1936- 
Translations into English. I. Sorrell, Martin. II. Title. III. Series. 
PQ6613.A763A2 2007 
86F.62— dc22 
2007011367 

Typeset by Cepha Imaging Private Ltd., Bangalore, India 
Printed in Great Britain 
on acid-free paper by 
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ISBN 978-0-19-280565-2 


13579 10 8642 



CONTENTS 


Introduction 

ix 

Note on the Text and Translation 

XXV 

Select Bibliography 

xxvii 

A Chronology of Federico Garcia Lorca 

xxix 


SELECTED POEMS 


Cancion otonal 2 

From Book of Poems 

Autumn Song 3 

Cancion menor 6 

Minor Song 7 

Balada triste 8 

Sad Ballad 9 

Elegia 12 

Elegy 13 

Aire de nocturno 1 6 

Nocturnal Air 17 

Cancion primaveral 18 

Spring Song 19 

Sueno 20 

Dream 21 

Balada de la placeta 22 

Ballad of the Little Square 23 

La balada del agua del mar 

26 Seawater Ballad 27 

Sueno 28 

Dream 29 

Otra cancion 30 

Another Song 3 1 

El macho cabrio 32 

The Billy Goat 33 

Cancion con reflejo 38 

From Suites 

Song with Reflection 39 

Sesamo 40 

Sesame 41 

Cancion bajo lagrimas 40 

Song beneath Tears 41 

Paisaje sin cancion 42 

Landscape without Song 43 

Horizonte 42 

Horizon 43 

Pescadores 42 

Fishermen 43 

Delirio 44 

Delirium 45 

En el jardin de las toronjas 

In the Garden of Lunar 

de luna 44 

Grapefruit 45 

From Poem of the Cante Jondo 

Paisaje 48 

Landscape 49 

La guitarra 48 

The Guitar 49 

El grito 50 

The Shout 51 

El silencio 32 

The Silence 53 



VI 


Contents 


El paso de la Siguiriya 52 

Dancing the Siguiriya 53 

Despues de pasar 52 

After Passing By 53 

Y despues 54 

And After 55 

Tierra seca 54 

Parched Land 55 

Pueblo 56 

Town 57 

Punal 56 

Dagger 57 

Encrucijada 58 

Crossroads 59 

i Ay! 58 

Ay! 59 

Sorpresa 60 

Surprise 61 

La Solea 60 

The Soled 61 

Cueva 62 

Cave 63 

Encuentro 64 

Meeting 65 

Alba 64 

Dawn 65 

Arqueros 66 

Bowmen 67 

Noche 66 

Night 67 

Sevilla 68 

Seville 69 

Procesion 70 

Procession 71 

Paso 70 

Float, Holy Week 71 

Saeta 70 

Saeta 71 

Balcon 72 

Balcony 73 

Madrugada 72 

Dawn 73 


From Songs 

Nocturnos de la ventana 76 

Nocturnes at the Window 77 

Cancion tonta 80 

Foolish Song 81 

Cancion de jinete 80 

Horseman’s Song 81 

jEs verdad! 82 

It’s true! 83 

Verlaine 82 

Verlaine 83 

Baco 84 

Bacchus 85 

Juan Ramon Jimenez 84 

Juan Ramon Jimenez 85 

Venus 86 

Venus 87 

Debussy 86 

Debussy 87 

Narciso 88 

Narcissus 89 

A1 oido de una muchacha 88 

In a Girl’s Ear 89 

La luna asoma go 

The Moon Appears 91 

Murio al amanecer go 

He Died at Dawn 91 

Primer aniversario g2 

First Anniversary 93 

Segundo aniversario g2 

Second Anniversary 93 

Lucia Martinez 94 

Lucia Martinez 95 

La soltera en misa 94 

The Spinster at Mass 95 

Malestar y noche 94 

Malaise and Night 95 

Desposorio 96 

Betrothal 97 

Despedida 98 

Parting 99 

En el instituto y en la 

In the Institute and in the 

universidad 98 

University 99 



Contents 


Madrigalillo ioo 

Preludio ioo 

De otro modo 102 

Cancion de noviembre y abril 1 02 

Cancion del naranjo seco 104 


Light Madrigal 10 1 

Prelude 10 1 

Another Way 103 

Song of November and April 103 

Song of the Dry Orange Tree 105 


From 

Romance de la luna, luna 106 
Romance sonambulo 108 
La monja gitana 112 
Prendimiento de Antonito el 
Camborio en el camino 
de Sevilla 116 

Muerte de Antonito el Camborio 
Muerto de amor 122 


Gypsy Ballads 

Ballad of the Moon, the Moon 107 
Dream walker Ballad 1 09 
The Gypsy Nun 1 13 
Capture of Antonito el 
Camborio on the Seville 
Road 1 17 

1 1 8 Death of Antonito el Camborio 1 19 
Dead from Love 123 


From Poet in New York 

El rey de Harlem 126 The King of Harlem 127 

Crucifixion 132 Crucifixion 133 

Grito hacia Roma 136 Cry to Rome 137 

Son de negros en Cuba 140 Blacks in Cuba, their Son 141 

From Earth and Moon 

Pequeno poema infinito 144 Little Infinite Poem 145 


From The Tamarit Divan 


Gacela IX Del amor maravilloso 146 
Casida V Del sueno al aire fibre 146 
Casida VIII De la muchacha 
dorada 148 

Gacela del mercado matutino 150 


Ghazal IX Of Marvellous Love 147 
Qasida V Of the Open-Air Dream 147 
Qasida VIII Of the Golden Girl 149 

Ghazal of the Morning 
Marketplace 151 


From Six Galician Poems 

Romaxe de Nosa Senora Romance of Our Lady of 

da Barca 152 the Boat 153 

Canzon de cuna pra Rosalia Cradle Song for Rosalia 

Castro, morta 152 Castro, Dead 153 


Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 156 



Contents 


viii 

From Sonnets of Dark Love 

El poeta habla por telefono con The Poet Speaks to his Love on 

el amor 170 the Telephone 171 

‘jAy voz secreta del amor oscuroP 170 ‘Ay, Secret Voice of Dark Love’ 171 
El amor duerme en el pecho The Lover Asleep on the Poet’s 

del poeta 172 Breast 173 

Noche del amor insomne 172 Night of Sleepless Love 173 


Explanatory Notes 

177 

Index of Titles 

185 

Index of First Lines 

189 



INTRODUCTION 


F ederico Garcia Lorca was born of a well-to-do family on 5 June 
1898 in the village of Fuentevaqueros in the plain of Granada. From 
his father, a prosperous farmer and landowner, and from the family 
servants Lorca derived a love and knowledge of peasant life and rural 
lore that served to shape him as a writer. Before he was 4, he knew 
dozens of folk songs by heart, and such an early acquaintanceship 
with this material explains its ready assimilation into his poetry. The 
childlike quality of the verse and the ease with which Lorca could 
adopt a child’s perspective may also derive from this exposure to the 
rich vein of Andalusian popular culture. In 1909, the family moved 
to Granada so that the educational needs of Federico and his brother 
and sister could be met. As schoolboy, student, and ultimately as a 
writer, Lorca was to base himself in Granada for the rest of his life. 
The spiritual kinship of the poet with the city, in particular with its 
Arabic heritage, is undoubted, as indeed is the association of Lorca 
with Andalusia as a whole. Important for his development as a writer, 
however, were study-visits he undertook as a student in 1916 and 1917 
to other regions of Spain. Of crucial significance, too, for the devel- 
opment of his art was the period he spent living at the Residencia de 
Estudiantes in Madrid in the 1920s. The purpose of this institution, 
similar to an Oxbridge college, was to bring together the finest young 
talents of Spain and to help them blossom in an invigorating cultural 
and intellectual environment. Here Lorca formed close friendships 
with Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel. Stimulating in a different way 
was his experience as a student at Columbia University, New York, 
in 1929—30; it is nothing less than culture shock that is registered in 
a series of poems written during his stay in the city. Less inspiring, 
though certainly more enjoyable, was his South American tour of 
1933-4. His fame was by now considerable in the Spanish-speaking 
world, and his trip coincided with successful productions of his 
plays. In 1931 the Education Ministry of the new government of the 
Second Republic had appointed him as director of a travelling theatre 
company, ‘La barraca’. On his initiative, Spanish plays were performed 
all over the country, in squares, marketplaces, and barns. The effect 
on Lorca’s own dramatic production was evident: the most powerful 



X 


Introduction 


and popular of his plays were written in the few years between his 
practical theatrical experience and his death in 1936. 1 

In the turbulent days preceding the start of the Spanish Civil War 
in July of that year Lorca was in Madrid and confronted by a difficult 
choice. Should he remain in Madrid or return home to Granada as 
he normally did in the summer? Where would he be safer if hostili- 
ties were to break out? After some agonizing, he decided to go to 
Granada where he thought that he could rely on the protection of 
friends in the event of a Nationalist takeover. Indeed, within less than 
a month he was forced to seek refuge at the house of the family of a 
friend and fellow poet, Luis Rosales. They had connections with and 
thereby, it was hoped, influence upon the local Falangist party, a 
politico-military group charged with civic functions in the period 
following General Franco’s revolt. Unfortunately, the Rosales were 
unable to save Lorca. Even while at their house, the Civil Governor 
issued an order for his arrest. He was detained on 16 August and exe- 
cuted by firing squad three days later along with a small group of his 
fellow citizens on a hillside above the town. 

The subject of Lorca’s death was for many years something of a for- 
bidden topic. The outcry that followed, outside Spain as much as inside 
it, given the international impact of the Civil War and the fame that his 
works immediately achieved, proved embarrassing for the representa- 
tives of the Franco regime. Only since the 1970s have the facts about 
Lorca’s death and the true motives been made public. Rumours that his 
death was prompted by purely personal factors, such as jealousy arising 
from a homosexual liaison, were useful in deflecting attention away from 
the political dimension. 2 * * Yet Lorca was not political in a committed 
partisan way, although his instincts were decidedly liberal and demo- 
cratic in nature and he had aligned himself with left-wing values in the 
years preceding the start of the Civil War. Moreover, from his youth he 
had offended the Granada bourgeoisie by associating with some of the 
more flamboyant and arty types of the city. His homosexuality 7 , although 
not blatant, further outraged the conservative-minded citizens. The 
seeds of resentment were further watered in an interview Lorca gave in 


1 See Federico Garcia Lorca, Four Major Plays, trans. John Edmunds (Oxford: 
Oxford University Press, 1997). 

2 See Jean-Louis Schonberg, Federico Garcia Lorca: L' Homme- L'CEuvre (Paris: Plon, 

1956) and a summary of Schonberg’s thesis in Ian Gibson, The Death of Lorca (London: 

Paladin, 1974), 154-7. 



Introduction 


xi 


the last year of his life, in which he expressed the view that the 
capture of the Moorish kingdom of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs, 
Ferdinand and Isabella, was a ‘disastrous event’. 3 

The popularity of Lorca’s work is due in part to the circumstances 
of his death and the mystery in which it was shrouded. Yet he is also 
perceived, especially by readers in the English-speaking world, as the 
epitome of what it is to be a Spanish writer. Images of guitars, moons, 
violence, and passion occur with just enough regularity to justify 
the label. Such a view may not be a distortion, but it is certainly a 
simplification, and an awareness of Lorca’s first faltering steps as 
a poet serves to caution against any view of him as a facile or even a 
‘natural’ poet. In 1917-18, around the age of 20, he wrote several 
thousand lines of poetry; in terms of sheer productivity this was the 
most prolific period of his poetic career. Even though the poet and 
his brother Francisco had numbered the poems in readiness for pub- 
lication, however, little of this vast output was to appear with the poet’s 
blessing. This was a wise decision for there is little of genius or even 
charm in these earnest, inflated compositions for all their exuberance 
and pretension. Their publication in a popular paperback edition in 
1994, as opposed to a more specialist one, was therefore questionable: 
a reader new to the poet could hardly recognize in this large volume 
the portents of talent or the hallmarks of style, and could indeed be 
dissuaded from reading other works of his. The true worth of the 
poetic juvenilia was that of a necessary apprenticeship. They afforded 
a space and opportunity for learning through the very act of writing 
poetry, acquiring the negative but crucial value of an exorcism. That 
Lorca could within five years be producing exquisite and disturbing 
miniatures speaks volumes for his capacity for self-analysis and self- 
criticism. His ambition was channelled ruthlessly into a practical 
awareness of what it took to become a poet. 

Book of Poems 

Before embarking on his poetic adventure Lorca seemed destined for 
a career in music. A highly talented pianist and a budding composer, 

3 ‘An admirable civilization, and a poetry, architecture, and sensitivity unique in the 
world — all were lost, to give way to an impoverished, cowed city, a “miser’s paradise” 
where the worst middle class in Spain today is busy stirring things up.’ Cited in Ian 
Gibson, Federico Garcia Lorca (London: Faber and Faber, 1989), 439. 



Introduction 


xii 

he had hoped to pursue his musical studies in Paris. Parental oppo- 
sition and the death of his music teacher, Antonio Segura, combined 
to stifle this aspiration. In an autobiographical note written during 
his period in New York in 1929—30 he relates his decision to become 
a poet to thwarted musical ambitions: ‘As his parents did not allow 
him to go to Paris to continue with his initial studies and as his music 
teacher died, Garcia Lorca turned his (dramatic) pathetic creative 
urges towards poetry.’ 4 Such a clear-cut statement of cause and effect 
may be an exaggeration, a simplified retrospective gloss. In any case 
Lorca did not abandon music. His friendship with Manuel de Falla, 
his organization jointly with Falla of a cante jondo festival — designed 
to reinvigorate traditional Andalusian folk music (literally ‘deep song’), 
which had suffered from trivialization at the hands of cafe perform- 
ers — and his imaginative arrangements of Spanish folk songs for 
voice and piano all provide evidence of the continuing significance of 
music in his work as well as in his life. 5 

In Lorca’s earliest poetry there is, though, an overdependence 
upon musical analogies as though the musician was only letting 
go with reluctance. He utilizes composers’ names as a shorthand or 
code for a desired emotion and employs technical terms such as 
tempo markings, key signatures, and symphonic or sonata movement 
names. Such a heavy-handed manner is characteristic of the poetic 
juvenilia, with their ready recourse to enumeration and anaphora, 
liberally sprinkled with exclamation and interrogation marks. 
It is not surprising then that only a handful of the 155 poems that 
appear in the edition of the juvenilia should have found their 
way into print. Of a different level of achievement altogether is 
Book of Poems , a collection of sixty-eight poems written between 
1918 and 1920. Uneven though it may be in quality, it offers a 
distinctive glimpse into the making of a poet. If the unpublished 
juvenilia are a place for the disposal of an inauthentic lyric voice, 
then the first publication in verse constitutes a site for the gradual 


4 ‘Como sus padres no permitieron que se trasladase a Paris para continuar con sus 
estudios iniciales, y su maestro de musica murio, Garcia Lorca dirigio su (dramatico) 
patetico afan creativo a la poesia.’ Obras completas, ed. Arturo del Hoyo, 13th edn. (Madrid: 
Aguilar, 1967), 1698. 

5 See my article ‘Parallel trajectories in the careers of Falla and Lorca’, in Federico 
Bonaddio and Xon de Ros (eds.), Crossing Fields in Modern Spanish Culture (Oxford: 
Legenda, European Humanities Research Centre, 2003), 92—102. 



Introduction 


xiii 

and painful acquisition of identity and aspiration. The collection is 
rich in a creative tension that is symptomatic of a learning curve. 
Such strains and conflicts can be found both in individual poems and 
between poems. The ‘Elegy’ (p. 13) is lexically overripe but it is 
also concentrated in its vision: the short-winded accumulation of the 
unpublished poetry yields to an arresting precision of imagery 
through the interplay of the sexual and the maternal, of Christianity 
and paganism. The pathetic fallacy in the poems entitled ‘Songs’ 
from the early part of the collection is countered by the edgy lyricism 
in the form of fragmentary dialogue and subterranean narrative 
in the poems entitled ‘Ballads’. Strategically placed at the end of 
Book of Poems are a dozen or so poems that serve to embody discov- 
ery and adventure. Their unease is reminiscent of an idea in Shaw’s 
Major Barbara'. ‘You have found something. At first that feels as if 
you have lost something.’ The significantly named ‘Another Song’ 
(p. 31) marks such a coincidence of loss and gain, while ‘Dream’ 
(p. 29) and ‘The Billy Goat’ (p. 33), sexually dark and ambivalent, 
daringly stake out the new territory. Yet ‘The Billy Goat’ is perhaps 
less important for what it tells us about Lorca’s sexuality in 1919 — 
when it is supposed his homosexual inclination was not yet evident — 
and more significant as an indicator of a poetic crisis. In this respect, 
the roughness and aggression of the poem — the blunt terminology, 
the visceral phrasing — are if not a metaphor, then a working out 
(in both senses of the term) of expressive problems. It is a poetry 
that wears on its sleeve the excitement attendant upon the very 
making of the poem as a new kind of aesthetic experience, where 
‘light is a hurricane’. 


Suites 

What writing Book of Poems may have taught Lorca, among other 
things, was the art of minimalism. He was not especially interested in 
the various ephemeral Hispanic avant-garde poetic movements that 
were in vogue around 1920, but in the two years prior to the publi- 
cation of Book of Poems his artistic horizons had widened with his 
entry into the Residencia de Estudiantes. The quest for a new and 
fresh poetic was manifested initially in the poems that came to com- 
prise his Suites. The title suggests two musical models: the character- 
istic eighteenth-century composition of a kind much employed by 



XIV 


Introduction 


Bach and Handel, containing a whole range of dance forms, and an 
earlier type in the form of theme and variations, or what Spanish 
instrumental composers of the sixteenth century labelled ‘diferen- 
cias’. More significant than the musical inspiration for the poetic 
form is the fastidiousness and precision of diction, a far remove from 
the verbosity of the unpublished poems and some compositions of 
Book of Poems. Yet the poem entitled ‘Song with Reflection’ (p. 39) 
reveals not just the effect of purgation, for its minimalism is not a 
matter of style — of an optional vehicle of presentation — but a mode 
of dramatization that is integral to the poem. While a reference to the 
poet’s heart might have spawned an emotional rhapsody in the earliest 
poetry, here the term prompts distancing and a gentle irony. What 
we have are faint impressions and evasions in the unanswered questions 
and elisions. Such an abbreviated and truncated piece can hardly be 
expressive of anything, let alone of personal emotions, such is its 
incompleteness, its gaps. The ‘lost language’ in a sense says it all: it 
is a cavernous composition with the resonance of echo. What its 
unremitting suggestiveness approximates to are intimations of a rela- 
tionship, as faceless as it is wordless, and as fleeting and insubstantial 
as the reflection of its title. It is a salutary reminder that poems work 
on the basis of what comes out of them rather than what certainly or 
allegedly goes into them. 

Poem of the Cante Jondo 

The cante jondo festival that Lorca organized in collaboration with 
Manuel de Falla and the businessman Miguel Ceron Rubio in 1922 
inspired the Poem of the Cante Jondo, a work that could be considered 
as the greatest set of suites, although not named as such. In cante 
jondo Lorca discovered a depth and authenticity of folklore that read- 
ily translated into a form of poetry that he favoured in the early 
1920s. Earlier poets, such as Manuel Machado, exploited the ‘deep 
song’ of the gypsies and their culture to supply word-pictures that 
veered between photographic realism and unintentional caricature. 
Lorca avoided the cliches of such a heady art and lifestyle. The key 
to his imagining of this ancient Andalusian song is evocation; in a 
lecture given to the Arts Club in Granada some months before the 
festival took place he described in suggestively poetic terms the 
character of this art: ‘It is a song without landscape and therefore 



Introduction 


XV 


concentrated in itself and terrible amid the shadow.’ 6 Such a mode 
of description is indicative of Lorca’s approach in this collection. 
He is more concerned to assimilate rather than duplicate the detail of 
cante jondo\ he may occasionally adopt its lexical mannerisms but he 
never quotes verbatim, however much he values its mystery. Instead 
he seeks an equivalence of elfect. 

One of the characteristics of flamenco song is voice modulation, 
enhanced by the use of the melisma, a decorative treatment of melody. 
The elaboration of the refrain in the final lines of ‘AyP (p. 59) is a 
case in point. It conveys that kind of stillness that we might be tempted 
to label unworldly until we realize that it is the very embodiment of 
world. It is a stillness where silence resounds — the presence of 
silence is no less significant in Lorca’s plays — and where the shadow 
is the picture. In this scene of emptiness the plea for release and 
abandonment is formulated in a line of almost painful intensity so 
emphatically is it spelled out, syllable by syllable: ‘I’ve told you to 
leave me.’ Even in ‘The Guitar’ (p. 49) that celebrates the unique 
sound world of flamenco it is the echo or the memory of song that 
resonates. The repeated similes shadow a fading sound and register 
the immensity of the disappearing acoustic, such is their sheer sense 
of size and space: ‘like water, | like wind | over snow’. 

Commentators have sought to emphasize the tragic and dramatic 
aspects of the ca nte jondo poems, by reference both to Lorca’s life and 
other works of his. Yet it is performance that the book’s subdivisions 
highlight, by evoking the characteristic flamenco genres. The form of 
the suite enables an integration that mimics what actually happens 
in cante jondo : the guitar preceding the voice, the song that opens 
with an ornate cry of pain, the sequences in time. The compositions 
that form the ‘Poem of the Saeta ’ are an impression of Holy Week in 
Seville. They acknowledge the solemnity of the occasion without 
being serious, and although they embody mystery insofar as they 
enunciate the dark and the remote, they also have an uncertain, elu- 
sive quality that is not so much spiritual as playful. Lorca puns on the 
word saeta , stubbornly refusing to take it purely as a metaphor — the 
songs as arrows of lamentation — and, denying the title of the section 
its true significance, thereby converts the saeta singers into bowmen, 


6 ‘Es un canto sin paisaje, y por tanto, concentrado en si mismo y terrible en medio 
de la sombra’. Obras completas , 47. 



XVI 


Introduction 


even establishing a witty link with the mythological archer, Cupid. 
In a further twist, the blind bowmen are connected to the hooded 
penitents of the brotherhoods that participate in the Good Friday 
processions. What such traits suggest is that in Poem of the Cante 
Jondo Lorca learnt how to make a ‘bigger’ work than hitherto. He 
betrays a capacity for thinking in larger structures: he attains a con- 
ception of a macro-poem made up of a number of smaller poems. 

Songs 

Such an accomplishment was to be consolidated in Songs , a work that 
occupied the poet mainly between 1921 and 1924 and which can be 
considered the culmination of his early poetry. In particular, it is in 
this collection that the functioning of the lyric presence, that had been 
tenaciously confronted in Book of Poems and controlled in Poem of the 
Cante Jondo, would be supremely refined. This presence is complex: 
the child’s view of the world, open-eyed and undiscriminating, alter- 
nates with adolescent anxieties and with adult explanations or, just as 
often, evasions. In ‘Nocturnes at the Window’ (p. 77) there is an 
impulse prompted by the fascination of seeing, embodied in the mag- 
netism of the moon, associated, as so often in Lorca’s work, with 
fateful striving. In the lunge towards new experiences, the recklessness 
of the child-speaker is obvious. For if the danger is unwelcome, it is 
the price to be paid for the pleasure of finding out: the window 
through which the child puts his head to savour the smells of the night 
becomes a guillotine. The concluding poem in ‘Nocturnes’ (p. 79) 
suggests the confusion attendant upon discovery: the childlike visual- 
ization of a funeral serves as a cover for the fright of a lost innocence. 

Many poems in Songs have as their site the boundary between 
childhood and adolescence; in ‘Foolish Song’ (p. 81) the yearning to 
move into the next stage of life is successfully countered by an 
instinctive regression. The incorporation of dialogue into the slightest 
of lyrics, as here, is one of the poet’s touches of genius. Like others, 
this poem is a blend of neo-classical purity and pseudo-folkloric sim- 
plicity. In Lorca’s hands, however, such a fusion yields unease, as in 
the edgy, truncated poems that either provide unhappy versions of 
the rites of courtship (pp. 89, 99, 101) or else brutally deconstruct 
them (pp. 95, 97). It is tempting to interpret such negative ration- 
alizations of amatory aspiration and encounter as indications of the 



Introduction xvii 

poet’s homosexuality, and it is no great task to engage in what 
would be therefore warranted as appropriate decoding. This kind of 
approach — reductive as it is — often has the sole effect of telling us 
what we want to find out about the poet because we already know it. 
In any case it does not do justice to the complexity of the issue. In the 
sequence beginning with ‘Verlaine’ (p. 83) the layers of concealment 
prevail over any imperative of revelation. ‘Bacchus’ (p. 85) hints at a 
revulsion with the feminine through panic provoked by the fig-tree, 
a traditional female symbol. We could envisage a brief narrative 
whereby the speaker is approached by a female figure who seeks an 
intimate embrace only for him to recoil before her. In ‘Venus’ 
(p. 87) the ‘shell of the bed’ brings to mind the well-known Botti- 
celli painting of the birth of Venus except that in Lorca’s version 
Venus sinks into the sea rather than rises out of it — a blunt 
de-mythification that commemorates the death of woman as erotic 
objective. By contrast the vision of likeness through the reflection 
of the self — a same-sex attraction — in ‘Narcissus’ (p. 89) provokes 
fascination and desire — a process again realized by means of a 
child— mother dialogue. Yet the last word belongs to the poet who 
comments on what has occurred and asserts his right not to commu- 
nicate: ‘I understood. But I shan’t explain.’ One could not imagine a 
more robust disassociation from the conventional notion of poetry as 
the expression of emotion. 

There are, admittedly, poems of the most sonorous and evocative 
character, such as ‘Horseman’s Song’ (p. 81), where the rhythmic 
form magically shadows the doom-laden journey towards an unat- 
tainable Cordoba, or ‘Song of the Dry Orange Tree’ (p. 105) whose 
emotional unburdening and anguished articulation is more in keep- 
ing with the speech of the female figures of the late tragedies — the 
Mother in Blood Wedding , Yerma in the play of the same name, Adela 
in The House of Bernarda Alba — than the poetry of the early 1920s. 
Entirely different in nature is ‘Parting’ (p. 99). It is reminiscent of 
some of the quieter pieces in Poem of the Cante Jondo. There is a 
poise about the placing of the figures, each to his function: the poet 
on the balcony, the child eating oranges, the reaper in the fields. 
This spatial harmony is complemented by the uncluttered sentence- 
structure, simply and finely shaped. Here the restless gaze of the 
child in ‘Nocturnes at the Window’ is replaced by the weary contem- 
plation of the adult, albeit languorous rather than dejected. 



xviii Introduction 

Gypsy Ballads 

Yet perhaps the most emotive incorporation of the child in Lorca’s 
poetry does not occur in Songs but in the opening poem, ‘Ballad of the 
Moon, the Moon’ (p. 107), of the next published collection, Gypsy 
Ballads. The uncanny fantasy of the moon who comes to the forge in 
order to abduct a child reveals Lorca at his most characteristically cre- 
ative. In a lecture recital on the Ballads he observed that this was an 
invented myth: the moon as deadly ballerina. Yet part of its troubling 
attraction resides in its capacity to prod the reader into acknowledging 
other myths, as in the unconscious allusion to fragments of tales such 
as the ‘Erlkonig’ of Germanic legend. Above all, there is the conscious 
evocation of the world of the Spanish ballad — the romance — a tradi- 
tional form that attracted ‘learned’ poets from the sixteenth century 
onwards. The sing-song repetition, both entranced and threatening in 
this ballad about the moon, the lavish detail, the sudden spurts of 
narrative energy, are all celebrated in this collection. The book’s fame 
inspired all kinds of overall interpretation, including some by the poet 
himself, who felt obliged to defend it both against the contempt of his 
fellow artists, Dali and Bunuel, who felt it to be a betrayal of the sur- 
realist agenda, and against the misconceptions of those who believed 
the author himself to be a gypsy, such was its insight into their lives and 
culture. Yet as much as about Granada, or gypsies, or the ‘pena negra’ 
(dark grief) — the title of one of the poems — this book of ballads could 
be said to be about the ballad itself. It is a showcase of styles and man- 
nerisms, from the virtuosity of its rhythmic variety to its tellingly 
authentic employment of one of the traits of the older form of the genre, 
the romance viejo : ‘fragmentisin’, that is the practice of presenting the 
material of poems in the form of successive tableaux without connect- 
ing threads, and frequently having abrupt endings where the reader is 
deprived of a knowledge of the outcome. 

It is one of the best known of all Lorca’s poems that betrays this trait, 
the ‘Dreamwalker Ballad’ (p. 109). The subject of innumerable inter- 
pretations, variously ingenious and preposterous, it none the less 
refuses to yield a clear narrative. 7 Lorca himself observed that although 

7 ‘Events become ambiguous, the poem remains open-ended, and linear, anecdotal 
interpretations are subsequently confounded.’ Federico Bonaddio, ‘Lorca’s “Romance 
sonambulo”: The Desirability of Non-Disclosure’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies , 72 (1995), 
385-401 (21389). 



Introduction 


XIX 


it had ‘a great sense of anecdote, nobody knows what happens, not even 
me’. The poem’s fragmentism resides in the isolation of scenes, caused 
by the absence of explanatory connections, which compels us to fill the 
gaps by hazarding supposed causes and effects. Yet this should not be 
viewed as the product of a riddle-producer. The poem is imbued with 
a dream-like quality which has been an encouragement for the psycho- 
analytic school of critics, especially eager to press the case for Lorca as 
a man of his times, as one of a group of poets who were, it is to be pre- 
sumed, ‘decisively influenced by the knowledge represented by Freud 
and Jung’. 8 But the features of this poem that linger in the mind and 
haunt the memory are likely to be uniquely poetic: from the haunting 
opening refrain — as good an example of the necessary inexplicable 
quality of poetry as one could imagine — to the heady confusion of dia- 
logue, description, and narrative of the poem’s non-conclusion. 

The sense of delight that comes from reading — or hearing — such 
a poem is repeated elsewhere in Gypsy Ballads. Commentators who 
extract anguished and tragic messages or statements from the work are 
in danger of forgetting the form in which such supposed portentous 
utterances are cast. Moreover, these poems betray a lightness of touch, 
an imaginative verve and even touches of humour. Such are the two 
ballads about Antonito el Camborio (pp. 1 17-21), in real life a gypsy 
layabout who met an ignoble death after drinking too much, but ele- 
vated by Lorca into a delightfully cult, if not camp, figure: a pretty 
young man, carefree and swaggering, whose meek submission to the 
officers of the Civil Guard is redeemed in the duel with his cousins, the 
description of his balletic grace in the struggle recalling the metaphors 
drawn from the art of bullfighting in the previous poem. Lorca 
observes, tongue in cheek, that Antonito was one of the purest heroes 
of the book as he was the only one to call him by name at the moment 
of his death: ‘Oh, Federico Garcia | call the Civil Guard!’ 

Poet in New York 

In the summer of 1929 Lorca embarked from Southampton on 
the SS Olympic for New York. He was passing through a period of 


8 ‘decisivamente influida por la ciencia representada por Freud y Jung’. J. M. Aguirre, 
‘El sonambulismo de Federico Garcia Lorca’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies , 44 (1067), 
267-85 (at 268). 



XX 


Introduction 


depression, partly at least as a result of an amatory disappointment: 
the sculptor Emilio Aladren, with whom he was infatuated, was starting 
to become interested in the girl who was to become his wife. The 
poet’s stay in New York is commonly regarded as a miserable experi- 
ence, one which Lorca translated into the anguished and difficult 
compositions published posthumously as Poet in New York. This is 
perhaps an oversimplification produced by the need to square the life 
with the work; in reality, Lorca was well received, even feted, and rel- 
ished the music of the blacks, whom he compared to the gypsies of his 
native Andalusia. He did, however, feel alienated from the life and, 
more especially, the lifestyle of New York, although only he could be 
blamed for this. He made little effort to learn English and displayed 
an instinctive antipathy to Anglo-Saxon culture and religion: his let- 
ters home are evidence of a closed mind. Not even a month in the 
country at the Vermont home of the parents of Philip Cummings, a 
young American student whom Lorca had met at the Residencia de 
Estudiantes the previous year, sufficed to relieve his depression. 
A poem he wrote when stopping off at Cuba on the way home is a 
joyous cry of relief: his verse seems to sing and dance again (p. 141). 

Out of the New York experience Lorca made a poetry that is perhaps 
less indiv idually distinctive than some of his previous work. The notion 
of the city as a dehumanizing environment, his revulsion at the multi- 
tudes who crowded Coney beach on holiday, and his lyrical disassoci- 
ation from what he considered disagreeable or unacceptable, are 
hallmarks of a kind of artistic sensibility provocatively outlined by John 
Carey in The Intellectuals and the Masses. Lorca’s natural sympathy for 
the underdog and his sense of decency coexist with an aristocratic, even 
elitist, air. Such a fusion leads to a poetry of bold strokes, even of sim- 
plicities. To extrapolate ideas from Poet in New York and write about 
them as if they were the poem is poor critical practice and an unjust tool 
of assessment: Lorca is a poet, not an essayist, to be judged on the 
poetic assimilation and integration of ideas not on their value in them- 
selves. He fantasizes about how nature will one day wreak retribution 
on the metropolis, he denounces the world of money and numbers, and 
he manufactures a rhetoric of revolt. The vivacity of the imagination 
and the verve of the spoken voice (for many of the New York poems are 
splendid recitation pieces, as Lorca himself realized) are such that 
we overlook the embarrassingly rough-edged ideology. None the less, 
occasional outbursts make for uncomfortable reading: the liberating 



Introduction 


XXI 


desire to ‘beat | the little trembling Jewish women full of bubbles’ 
would have been the subject of greater scandal in a poet for whom there 
might be less obvious affection, such as T. S. Eliot. That there are 
profoundly self-searching compositions in the collection touching on 
matters of religious speculation and sexual identity is not in doubt. 
Their tortuous probing, allied to a deployment of imagery that approxi- 
mates to that of the surrealists, makes for difficult reading, though it 
has proved a rich seam for scholars. At his best, in a poem such as ‘Cry 
to Rome’ (p. 137), almost certainly inspired by the signing of the 
Lateran treaties between Mussolini and Pius XI in February 1929, the 
controlled imagery and rhetoric produces a stunning protest poem, a 
rare piece of poetic demagoguery whose incitements — denunciation 
and exhortation — have the ring of poetic truth. 

The T amarit Divan 

In the last six years of his life Lorca wrote comparatively little poetry. 
His main focus of attention in this period was the stage, partly as a 
result of his appointment as the director of ‘La barraca’. Indeed some 
of the finest poetry in these years is to be found in the three tragedies, 
not only in the set-piece poems, frequently in the guise of songs, but 
also in the sharp melodies of dialogue. He also returned to the kind 
of poetry he wrote in the early 1920s. The poems that appear in The 
Tamarit Divan are brief and evocative — an attempt to conjure up the 
delicate and exotic world of Arabic poetry. Though there are few 
formal connections between the ghazals and qasidas and the Arab 
genres from which this terminology derives, Lorca again succeeds — 
as he had with Poem of the Cante Jondo — in assimilating the essence 
and the flavour of such poetry. It is hardly surprising that a poetic 
imagination as attuned to place and history as Lorca’s, growing up in 
the last stronghold of Moorish Spain, surrounded by sumptuous and 
sensuous palaces, gardens, and fountains, should react so creatively 
to a culture that he was to compare, favourably and provocatively, to 
that of the Christians who conquered Granada in 1492. 

Six Galician Poems 

The Six Galician Poems testify to an affection for Galicia that dated 
from a visit to the region as a student at the University of Granada 



XXII 


Introduction 


and was reinforced by a more recent one with his theatre company. 
Lorca was also on friendly terms with a number of Galician writers 
and knew the literature of the region well. One of the poems (p. 153) 
pays homage to the greatest of the region’s poets, Rosalia de Castro, 
and it also harks back to the medieval Galician-Portuguese lyric in its 
utilization of the dawn-song, albeit with an unusual macabre edge. 

Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

The most ambitious poem of Lorca’s last years is what could be 
termed an occasional piece. It is perhaps indicative of the way in 
which his allegiance was changing from poetry to drama that it 
should have taken a specific event to prompt him to such a work. In 
October 1934 the bullfighter Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, a friend of the 
poet, died as a result of a goring by a bull in a corrida in Manzanares, 
a small town south of Madrid. Mejias had retired from the ring some 
years earlier and his surprising return was foolhardy: now in his for- 
ties, he was overweight and had lost his former agility. His friendship 
with Lorca went back a number of years as, unusually for a bullfighter, 
albeit the son of a distinguished doctor, he had literary pretensions 
and talent, notably as a dramatist. The poem that Lorca wrote in his 
memory (p. 157) is a lament rather than an elegy — the Spanish term 
llanto of its title derives from the Latin planctus with its association 
of weeping. Both the title and passages in the poem’s second part recall 
the most celebrated poem of this type in Spanish literature — the 
fifteenth-century ‘Coplas por la muerte de su padre’ (‘Verses upon 
the Death of His Father’) by Jorge Manrique. The best-known sec- 
tion of the poem is the opening with its endlessly repeated refrain ‘At 
five in the afternoon’. From the poem we would imagine this to be 
the time of Mejias’s death, but Lorca had obtained the phrase from 
a newspaper headline that employed the very same words in a refer- 
ence to the start of the funeral procession some days later. To say it 
is a refrain is an understatement; it rings through the opening section 
of the poem like a maddening bell behind which the snatches of 
narrative are assembled. It is a virtuouso performance comparable to 
the Gypsy Ballads. There are subtle touches of technical wizardry: 
the changes of tense, the shift from metaphor to simile, above all, the 
elaboration of the refrain at strategic points like hammer blows 
resounding above the monotonous tolling. 



Introduction 


xxiii 

The sensation of horror and the sense of anger that are tradition- 
ally part of the planctus yield in the later part of the poem to a resigned 
sorrow culminating in the tribute to the dead man and the implied 
consolation of his memory. The calmer vision prompts some of Lorca’s 
most harmonious lines, the opening stanzas of the final section with 
their simple syntactical repetitions and the haunting evocation of 
autumn appropriately linger in the memory. Cultivated and brilliant 
though he may have been, Mejias was dignified beyond his significance 
by this noble threnody, converted into an Andalusian hero as Antonito 
el Camborio had been years earlier. 

Sonnets 

In the last months of his life Lorca was planning a book of sonnets. 
This was not a form he had cultivated widely, but when he composed 
a group of eleven love sonnets at the end of 1935 it came at a moment 
when the form was enjoying something of a revival. Most of these 
poems were unpublished until the 1980s, as indeed had been the 
Suites. In the case of the sonnets, however, the delay in publication 
excited more interest. The title by which they are now known — 
Sonnets of Dark Love — was not one that appeared in the manuscript, 
but it has arisen because Lorca supposedly referred to them as such 
to friends. Inspired by Lorca’s love for Rafael Rodriguez Rapun, a 
young engineering student with whom he had fallen in love in 1933, 
the term ‘dark’ is commonly taken as being synonymous with ‘homo- 
sexual’. This is a reasonable deduction but Andrew Anderson is right 
to point out that the term has other connotations, ‘most of them 
equally or more relevant to the appreciation of the sonnets as self- 
sufficient literary texts’. This scholar also perceptively observes that they 
are about ‘the tormented experience of love, passion and suffering, and 
only secondarily about the dynamics of being in a love affair’. 9 There is 
little by way of specificity in the group of sonnets: indeed on only one 
occasion is the sexual identity of the object of love made explicit. 

The reception of Lorca’s work — his poetry in particular — has 
suffered from two successive distortions. Once his life and his com- 
plete work became a subject for open discussion and scrutiny his 


9 Lorca's Late Poetry: A Critical Study (Liverpool: Francis Cairns, 1990), 306. 



XXIV 


Introduction 


mythic status changed: from Republican martyr to gay icon. Neither 
of these terms serves him well. Ignorance, willed or otherwise, yielded 
to overfamiliarity, to an open season for crude deconstructionists. At 
the same time, as if to compensate for his wretched fate at the hands 
of Nationalist thugs, there has emerged a rosy-tinted version of his 
life and character. Posterity may deem it necessary to adjust those 
judgements that presently overrate the man and underrate the work. 
Lorca was a victim not a martyr; a man of decent instincts, not a 
saint. He was generous and impulsive, but he could be vain and self- 
centred. One could excuse his lack of modesty for it would have been 
false. He towered over his contemporaries, and they knew it: he was 
feted and lionized. Yet a later critical consensus, which looks to the 
achievements of the poetic group to which Lorca belonged, variously 
denominated the Poetic Group of 1925, the Generation of 1927, and 
the Generation of the Dictatorship, is apt to treat him at most as 
a first among equals. There is, however, surely no doubt that he is 
the most stylish and spectacular poet of twentieth-century Spain — a 
writer who fulfils most readily our expectations of what poetry can 
achieve. 



NOTE ON THE TEXT AND TRANSLATION 


The Spanish texts are taken from the original volume collections, 
whose details of publication are provided in the Explanatory Notes at 
the back of the book. 

The aim has been to provide a balanced selection of poems from 
all periods of Lorca’s life. This has entailed including rather fewer 
poems than is usual in anthologies from the better-known books, 
notably Romancero gitano and Poeta en Nueva York , and instead 
finding more space for those from the earlier works. Such an empha- 
sis, it is hoped, will both highlight Lorca’s development as a poet 
and do justice to the somewhat underrated collections of the early to 
mid-i920s. 

D. G. W. 

Lorca’s poetry poses the recognized problems of translation in an 
intense way. His Spanish is highly charged, culturally specific, strongly 
rhythmic, always musical. It evokes an ancient land, Andalusia, where 
Europe, Africa, and Arabia met and clashed. It evokes a world of 
searing heat, passions, and rough justice, resonating to the haunting 
sound of cante jondo, the purest form of Flamenco music. Here is a 
world which could scarcely be less Anglo-Saxon. 

Lorca’s work has been much translated in the decades since his 
death, so iconic a figure has he become. The translations in this volume 
have sought to render what might be called Lorca’s disposition , and to 
give an account in English of the anguished, isolated sensibility that 
lies below the language of his poetry. My aim has been to produce 
angular, tight, uncluttered lines. Thanks to the stress system of Spanish, 
Lorca’s sense of anguish and intensity is conveyed in a markedly 
accented metre; rhythmic pulse matches what is being voiced. Form 
and content become synonymous. However, too marked an English 
metrical foot might run the risk of lightness of tone quite at odds 
with Lorca’s brittle urgency. Nor does Lorca use end-rhyme, another 
possible agreeable agent of security. Instead, he exploits the naturally 
occurring assonance of Spanish, which the English versions loosely 
have sought to reflect. 



XXVI 


Note on the Text and Translation 


The first drafts of these translations were done at the Tyrone 
Guthrie Centre in Ireland during a residency funded by the EU in 
conjunction with the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association. 
My grateful thanks go to all three organizations. I would also like to 
thank my colleague, Gareth Walters, not only for his contribution to 
this venture, but for suggesting changes to the translation. I must 
thank the Heirs of Federico Garcia Lorca for permission to publish 
this selection; and Bill Kosmas, acting on their behalf. Once more, 
Judith Luna has been a tactful and skilful editor. Chris and Fen 
Tyler saw to it that I received a scarce copy of the Green Horse 
Press’s bilingual Sonnets of Dark Love — a generous gesture by them 
and Green Horse, much appreciated. Finally, to my wife Claire, who 
not only showed me much of Lorca’s botany in situ during our 
Andalusian holidays, but also unobtrusively supported this project 
from first stirrings to bookshop shelf, go all my gratitude, all my 
love — and these translations. 

M. S. 



SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 


Editions of Lorca ’s Work 

Suites , ed. Andre Belamich (Barcelona: Ariel, 1983). 

Libro de poemas, ed. Mario Hernandez (Madrid: Alianza, 1984). 

Poema del Cante Jondo; Romancero gitano, ed. Allen Josephs and Juan 
Caballero, 8th edn. (Madrid: Catedra, 1985). 

Canciones y primeras canciones , ed. Piero Menarini (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 
1986). 

Divan del Tamarit; Seis Poemas Galegos; Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, 
ed. Andrew A. Anderson (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1988). 

Collected Poems, rev. bilingual edn., ed. Christopher Maurer (New York: 
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2002). 

Biography 

Gibson, Ian, The Death of Lorca (London: Paladin, 1974). 

Federico Garcia Lorca (London and Boston: Faber and Faber, 1989). 

Stainton, Leslie, Lorca: A Dream of Life (London: Bloomsbury, 1999). 

Critical Studies 

Anderson, Andrew A., Lorca ’s Late Poetry: A Critical Study (Leeds: Francis 
Cairns, 1990). 

Bonaddio, Federico, ‘Lorca’s “Romance sonambulo”: The Desirability of 
Non-Disclosure’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 72 (1995), 385--401. 

Dennis, Nigel, ‘Lorca in the Looking-Glass: On Mirrors and Self- 
Contemplation’, in C. Brian Morris (ed.), ‘Cuando yo me muera’: Essays 
in Memory of Federico Garcia Lorca (Lanham, Md., New York, and 
London: University Press of America, 1988), 41-55. 

Gibson, Ian, ‘Lorca’s Balada triste : Children’s Songs and the Theme of 
Sexual Disharmony in Libro de poemas', Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 46 

(1969), 21-38. 

Harris, Derek, Garcia Lorca: Poeta en Nueva York, Critical Guides to 
Spanish Texts, 24 (London: Grant & Cutler, 1978). 

Loughran, David K., Federico Garcia Lorca: The Poetry of Limits (London: 
Tamesis Books, 1978). 

Morris, C. Brian (ed.), Son of Andalusia: The Lyrical Landscapes of Federico 
Garcia Lorca (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1997). 

Stanton, Edward F., The Tragic Myth: Lorca and 'Cante Jondo’ ( Lexington, 
Ky.: University of Kentucky Press, 1978). 



xxviii Select Bibliography 

Walters, D. Gareth, ‘ “Comprendi. Pero no explico”: Revelation and 
Concealment in Lorca’s Canciones ’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies , 68 
(1991), 265-79. 

‘The Queen of Castile and the Andalusian Spinster: Lorca’s Elegies 

for Two Women’, in Robert Harvard (ed.), Lorca: Poet and Playwright 
(Cardiff and New York: University of Wales Press and St Martin’s 
Press, 1992), 9-30. 

Canciones and the Early Poetry of Lorca: A Study in Critical Methodology 

and Poetic Maturity (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2002). 

Further Reading in Oxford World’s Classics 

Lorca, Federico Garcia, Four Major Plays, trans. John Edmunds. 



A CHRONOLOGY OF 
FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA 


1898 Born in Fuentevaqueros in the vale of Granada. 

1907 Family move to Asquerosa (setting for Bernarda Alba). 

1909-19 Granada. Early musical studies, but enters University Faculty of 
Letters (1915). Among family friends are Socialist professor 
Fernando de los Rios and composer Manuel de Falla. 

1918 First book, Impressions and Landscapes, published. 

1919-28 Based in Residencia de Estudiantes, Madrid. Friends there 
include Luis Bunuel, poets Jorge Guillen, Rafael Alberti (1924), 
and Salvador Dali (1923). 

1920 First play, The Butterfly’s Evil Spell, performed. 

1921 Publishes Book of Poems. Begins Songs, and the cante jondo 
poems. 

1922 With Falla, organizes cante jondo festival in Granada. 

1923 Begins Mariana Pineda, Gypsy Ballads , The Prodigious 
Shoemaker’s Wife. 

1924 Jose Moreno Villa shows him a description of rosa mutabilis. 

1925—8 Close friendship and collaboration with Dali. Growing interest 

in literary experiment: Ode to Salvador Dali, Buster Keaton’s 
Walk, Love of Don Perlimplin and Belisa in her Garden. 

1927 Participates in Gongora tercentenary. Publishes Songs. Mariana 
Pineda performed (June). Exhibition of his drawings in Barcelona 
(July). 

1928 Gypsy Ballads published. Rupture with Dali. Reads press 
reports of Nijar murder case (kernal of Blood Wedding). 

1929 Personal and artistic anxieties multiply. Goes to study at Columbia 
University (June). Experiences of New York, Wall Street crash, 
Black life of Harlem, evoke more radical forms of expression: 
Poet in New York, The Public. 

1930 Travels to Cuba (March). Yerma in progress. In Madrid from 
June: reads the explicitly homosexual The Public to friends. The 
Prodigious Shoemaker’s Wife performed (December). 

1931 Writes Once Five Years Pass. Publishes Poem of the Ca nte Jondo 
Second Republic proclaimed in April. 



xxx Chronology 

1932-4 Director of travelling student theatre, ‘La barraca’ (part of 
Republican government’s cultural outreach). 

1932 Reads the complete Blood Wedding to friends (September). 

1933 Blood Wedding performed (8 March). Theatre-club performance 
of Don Perlimplm. Centre-right government takes office in 
autumn. Lorca visits Argentina (September 1933— March 1934). 
Partial reading of Yerma. Meets cousin’s former fiance (story 
featured in Doha Rosita). 

1934 Completes Yerma and The Tamarit Divan. Composes Lament for 
bullfighter Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, killed in August. 

Abortive October Revolution followed by repression. Lorca sup- 
ports appeals for clemency. Yerma performed (29 December). 

1935 Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias published (May). Final draft- 
ing of Poet in New York (August). Signs anti-fascist manifesto 
(November). Doha Rosita the Spinster performed (12 December). 

1936 Popular Front wins elections (16 February). Lorca signs appeal 
for peaceful co-operation. Joins in homage to Alberti (February), 
Luis Cernuda (April), and French Popular Front delegates (May). 
Writing Sonnets of Dark Love , and projects for theatre. The 
House of Bernarda Alba completed (19 June); read to friends 
(24 June). 

Political tension increases. Lorca travels to Granada on 13 July. 
Military uprising (17 July) seizes power in Granada (20—3 July). 
Mass arrests and killings. 

19 August: Lorca murdered by firing squad at Viznar. 



SELECTED POEMS 



Poemas de Libro de Poemas 


Cancion otonal 

Noviembre de igi8 
(Granada) 

Hoy siento en el corazon 
un vago temblor de estrellas 
pero mi senda se pierde 
en el alma de la niebla. 

La luz me troncha las alas 
y el dolor de mi tristeza 
va mojando los recuerdos 
en la fiiente de la idea. 

Todas las rosas son blancas, 
tan blancas como mi pena, 
y no son las rosas blancas, 
que ha nevado sobre ellas. 
Antes tuvieron el iris. 

Tambien sobre el alma nieva. 
La nieve del alma tiene 
copos de besos y escenas 
que se hundieron en la sombra 
o en la luz del que las piensa. 
La nieve cae de las rosas 
pero la del alma queda, 
y la garra de los anos 
hace un sudario con ella. 

;Se deshelara la nieve 
cuando la muerte nos lleva? 
lO despues habra otra nieve 
y otras rosas mas perfectas? 

;Sera la paz con nosotros 
como Cristo nos ensena? 



From Book of Poems 


Autumn Song 

November igi8 
(Granada) 

Today in my heart 
a vague trembling of stars, 
but my way is lost 
in the soul of the mist. 

Light lops my wings. 

The hurt of my sadness 
moistens memories 
in thought’s fountain. 

All roses are white, 
white as my pain, 
white only when 
snow’s fallen on them. 

Earlier they wore a rainbow. 

Snow’s also falling on the soul. 

The soul’s snow is kissed 

by flakes and scenes 

lost before in the shadow 

or the light of the person thinking. 

Snow falls from roses, 

but remains on the soul, 

and the year’s thick needle 

makes a shroud of them. 

Will the snow melt 
when death claims us? 

Or will there be more snow 
and more perfect roses? 

Will we know peace 
as Christ promises? 



Libro de Poemas 


;() nunca sera posible 
la solucion del problema? 

;Y si el Amor nos engana? 
iQuien la vida nos alienta 
si el crepusculo nos hunde 
en la verdadera ciencia 
del Bien que quiza no exista 
y del Mai que late cerca? 

Si la esperanza se apaga 
y la Babel se comienza, 
d'que antorcha iluminara 
los caminos en la Tierra? 

Si el azul es un ensueno, 
d'que sera de la inocencia? 
,;Que sera del corazon 
si el Amor no tiene flechas? 

Y si la muerte es la muerte, 
d'que sera de los poetas 
y de las cosas dormidas 
que ya nadie las recuerda? 
jOh sol de las esperanzas! 
jAgua clara! jLuna nueva! 
jCorazones de los ninos! 
jAlmas rudas de las piedras! 
Hoy siento en el corazon 
un vago temblor de estrellas 
y todas las rosas son 
tan blancas como mi pena. 



5 


Book of Poems 

Or can it never be 
for us? 

And what if love’s a trick? 
Who’ll salvage our lives 
if gathering gloom buries us 
in the certainty of Good, 
unreal perhaps, 

and of Evil throbbing very close? 

What if hope dies 
and Babel* rises? 

What torch will light 
earth’s pathways? 

If blue is dream 
what then innocence? 

What awaits the heart 
if Love bears no arrows? 

If death is death, 
what then of poets 
and the hibernating things 
no one remembers? 

Sun of our hopes! 

Clear water! New moon! 

Hearts of children! 

Rough souls of the stones! 

Today in my heart 
a vague trembling of stars 
and all roses are 
as white as my pain. 



Libro de Poemas 


Cancion menor 

Diciembre de igi8 
(Granada) 

Tienen gotas de rocio 
las alas del ruisenor, 
gotas claras de la luna 
cuajadas por su ilusion. 

Tiene el marmol de la fiiente 
el beso del surtidor, 
sueno de estrellas humildes. 

Las ninas de los jardines 
me dicen todas adios 
cuando paso. Las campanas 
tambien me dicen adios. 

Y los arboles se besan 
en el crepusculo. Yo 
voy llorando por la calle, 
grotesco y sin solucion, 
con tristeza de Cyrano 

y de Quijote, 

redentor 
de imposibles infinitos 
con el ritmo del reloj. 

Y veo secarse los lirios 
al contacto de mi voz 
manchada de luz sangrienta, 
y en mi lirica cancion 
llevo galas de payaso 
empolvado. El amor 

bello y lindo se ha escondido 
bajo una arana. El sol 
como otra arana me oculta 
con sus patas de oro. No 
conseguire mi ventura, 
pues soy como el mismo Amor, 



Book of Poems 


Minor Song 

December igi8 
(Granada) 

Dewdrops 

on nightingale’s wings, 
clear droplets of moon 
shaped by illusion. 

On the fountain’s marble 
the waterspout’s kiss, 
dream of humble stars. 

The girls in the gardens 
all bid me farewell 
as I pass. Bells too 
bid me farewell 
and trees kiss 
in the half-light. I 
go down the street weeping, 
grotesque, no answers, 
sad as Cyrano* 
sad as Don Quixote,* 
redeeming 
impossible infinites 
with the rhythm of clocks. 

I see irises dry 
touched by my voice 
bloodstained by light, 
and in my lyric song 
I wear the costume 
of a grease-painted clown. 
Beautiful marvellous love 
hides under a spider. The sun 
like another spider hides me 
beneath its golden legs. I shan’t 
find happiness, 

I’m like Love 



Libro de Poemas 


cuyas flechas son de llanto, 
y el carcaj el corazon. 

Dare todo a los demas 
y llorare mi pasion 
como nino abandonado 
en cuento que se borro. 

Balada triste 

Pequeno poema 

Abril de igi8 
(Granada) 

jMi corazon es una mariposa, 
ninos buenos del prado!, 
que presa por la arana gris del tiempo 
tiene el polen fatal del desengano. 

De nino yo cante como vosotros, 
ninos buenos del prado, 
solte mi gavilan con las temibles 
cuatro unas de gato. 

Pase por el jardin de Cartagena, 
la verbena invocando, 
y perdi la sortija de mi dicha 
al pasar el arroyo imaginario. 

Fui tambien caballero 
una tarde fresquita de Mayo. 

Ella era entonces para mi el enigma, 
estrella azul sobre mi pecho intacto. 
Cabalgue lentamente hacia los cielos, 
era un domingo de pipirigallo, 
y vi que en vez de rosas y claveles 
ella tronchaba lirios con sus manos. 

Yo siempre fui intranquilo, 
ninos buenos del prado. 



Book of Poems 

whose arrows are tears, 
whose quiver the heart. 

I’ll give everything to others 
and weep my passion 
like the child abandoned 
in a story crossed out. 


Sad Ballad 

Little poem 

April igi8 
( Granada ) 

My heart’s a butterfly, 
good children of the field, 
pinned by time’s grey spider, 
filled with disillusionment’s deadly pollen. 

When I was a boy I sang like you, 
good children of the field, 

I let loose my sparrow-hawk 
with its four frightful cat-claws. 

I went through Cartagena’s garden 
imploring the verbena 
and lost my good luck ring 
when I crossed the invented stream. 

I was a horseman too 
one fresh afternoon in May. 

She was my enigma then, 
blue star on my unspoiled chest. 

Slowly I rode towards the skies. 

That Sunday of sainfoin 
I saw her hands were cutting lilies 
not roses and carnations. 

Always I was restless, 
good children of the field. 



10 


Libro de Poemas 


el ella del romance me surma 
en ensonares claros. 
iQuien sera la que coge los claveles 
y las rosas de Mayo? 

;Y por que la veran solo los ninos 
a lomos de Pegaso? 

;Sera esa misma la que en los rondones 
con tristeza llamamos 
Estrella, suplicandole que saiga 
a danzar por el campo?... 

En abril de mi infancia yo cantaba, 
ninos buenos del prado, 
la ella impenetrable del romance 
donde sale Pegaso. 

Yo decia en las noches la tristeza 
de mi amor ignorado, 
y la luna lunera, jque sonrisa 
ponia entre sus labios! 
iQuien sera la que corta los claveles 
y las rosas de Mayo? 

Y de aquella chiquita, tan bonita, 
que su madre ha casado, 
i'en que oculto rincon de cementerio 
dormira su fracaso? 

Yo solo con mi amor desconocido, 
sin corazon, sin llantos, 
hacia el techo imposible de los cielos 
con un gran sol por baculo. 

iQue tristeza tan seria me da sombra!, 
ninos buenos del prado, 
como recuerda dulce el corazon 
los dias ya lejanos... 
iQuien sera la que corta los claveles 
y las rosas de Mayo? 



Book of Poems 

the she of the romance engulfed me 
in limpid dreams: 
who’ll pick the May roses 
and carnations? 

Why will only the children 
riding Pegasus* see her, 
she who round here 
with sadness we name 
star, imploring her to come 
and dance around the field? . . . 

Good children of the field, 
in the April of my childhood I sang 
the impregnable she of the romance 
where Pegasus rides out. 

By night I told the sadness 
of my unsuspected love — 
and what a smile the moonish moon 
wore on its lips! 

Who’ll cut the May roses 
and carnations? 

And that so pretty little girl, 
given in marriage by her mother, 
in what dark cemetery plot 
will they lay her ruin? 

I alone with my undiscovered love, 
without heart, without tears, 
towards the skies’ impossible roof 
with a huge sun to console me. 

Such grave sadness shades me! 
Good children of the field, 
how sweet the heart’s memories 
of days so quickly done... 

Who’ll cut the May roses 
and carnations? 



Libro de Poemas 


Elegia 

Diciembre de igi8 
(Granada) 

Como un incensario lleno de deseos, 
pasas en la tarde luminosa y clara 
con la carne oscura de nardo marchito 
y el sexo potente sobre tu mirada. 

Llevas en la boca tu melancolla 
de pureza muerta, y en la dionisiaca 
copa de tu vientre la arana que teje 
el velo infecundo que cubre la entrana 
nunca florecida con las vivas rosas, 
fruto de los besos. 

En tus manos blancas 
llevas la madeja de tus ilusiones, 
muertas para siempre, y sobre tu alma 
la pasion hambrienta de besos de fuego 
y tu amor de madre que suena lejanas 
visiones de cunas en ambientes quietos, 
hilando en los labios lo azul de la nana. 

Como Ceres dieras tus espigas de oro 
si el amor dormido tu cuerpo tocara, 
y como la virgen Maria pudieras 
brotar de tus senos otra Via Lactea. 

Te marchitaras como la magnolia. 

Nadie besara tus muslos de brasa. 

Ni a tu cabellera llegaran los dedos 
que la pulsen como las cuerdas de un arpa. 

jOh mujer potente de ebano y de nardo!, 
cuyo alien to tiene blancor de biznagas. 
Venus del manton de Manila que sabe 
del vino de Malaga y de la guitarra. 



Book of Poems 


i3 


Elegy 

December igi8 
(Granada) 

Like a censer filled with desires, 
you pass through clear evening, 
flesh dark as spent spikenard; 
your face pure sex. 

On your mouth, dead chastity’s 
melancholy; in your womb’s 
Dionysian* chalice the spider weaves a barren veil 
to hide flesh spurned by living roses, 
the fruit of kisses. 


In your white hands 
the twist of lost illusions, 
and on your soul a passion 
hungry for kisses of fire, 
and your mother-love dreaming distant 
pictures of cradles in calm places, 
lips spinning azure lullabies. 

Like Ceres,* you’d offer golden corn 
to have sleeping love touch your body; 
to have another Milky Way 
flow from your virgin breasts. 

You’ll wither like the magnolia. 

No kisses burnt on your thighs, 
no fingers in your hair, 
playing it like a harp. 

Woman strong with ebony and spikenard, 
breath white as lilies, 

Venus of the Manila shawl tasting 
of Malaga wine and guitars! 



Libro de Poemas 


jOh cisne moreno!, cuyo lago tiene 
lotos de saetas, olas de naranjas 
y espumas de rojos claveles que aroman 
los nidos marchitos que hay bajo sus alas. 

Nadie te fecunda. Martir andaluza, 
tus besos debieron ser bajo una parra 
plenos del silencio que tiene la noche 
y del ritmo turbio del agua estancada. 

Pero tus ojeras se van agrandando 
y tu pelo negro va siendo de plata; 
tus senos resbalan escanciando aromas 
y empieza a curvarse tu esplendida espalda. 

jOh mujer esbelta, maternal y ardiente! 
Virgen dolorosa que tiene clavadas 
todas las estrellas del cielo profundo 
en su corazon, ya sin esperanza. 

Eres el espejo de una Andalucia 
que sufre pasiones gigantes y calla, 
pasiones mecidas por los abanicos 
y por las mantillas sobre las gargantas 
que tienen temblores de sangre, de nieve 
y aranazos rojos hechos por miradas. 

Te vas por la niebla del Otono, virgen 
como Ines, Cecilia y la dulce Clara, 
siendo una bacante que hubiera danzado 
de pampanos verdes y vid coronada. 

La tristeza inmensa que flota en tus ojos 
nos dice tu vida rota y fracasada, 
la monotonia de tu ambiente pobre 
viendo pasar gente desde tu ventana, 
oyendo la lluvia sobre la amargura 
que tiene la vieja calle provinciana, 
mientras que a lo lejos suenan los clamores 
turbios y confusos de unas campanadas. 



Book of Poems 

Black swan* on a lake of suet a 
lotuses, waves of orange 
and spray of red carnations scenting 
the withered nests beneath its wings. 

Andalusian martyr, left barren. 

Your kisses should have been beneath a vine, 
filled with night’s silence, 
stagnant water’s cloudy rhythm. 

But below your eyes circles start, 
and your black hair turns silver. 

Your breasts ease, spreading their scent 
and your splendid shoulders start to stoop. 

Slender woman, meant for motherhood, burning! 
Virgin of sorrows; 
forever hopeless heart 
nailed by every star of the deep sky. 

You’re the mirror of an Andalusia 
sulfering and stifling great passions, 
passions swaying to fans 
and mantillas at throats 
shivering with blood, with snow, 
red scratch-marks of gazing eyes on them. 

Like Ines,* Cecilia,* and sweet Clara,* 
you go through autumn mists, a virgin, 
a bacchante who’d have danced 
in garlands of green shoots and vine. 

The great sadness floating in your eyes 
tells us your broken, shattered life, 
the monotony of your bare world, 
at your window watching people pass, 
hearing rain fall on the bitterness 
of the old provincial streets; 
far away, a troubled clash of bells. 



Libro de Poemas 


Mas en vano escuchaste los acentos del aire. 
Nunca llego a tu oido la dulce serenata. 

Detras de tus cristales aun miras anhelante. 
jQue tristeza tan honda tendras dentro del alma 
al sentir en el pecho ya cansado y exhausto 
la pasion de una nina recien enamorada! 

Tu cuerpo ira a la tumba 
intacto de emociones. 

Sobre la oscura tierra 
brotara una alborada. 

De tus ojos saldran dos claveles sangrientos 
y de tus senos rosas como la nieve blancas. 

Pero tu gran tristeza se ira con las estrellas 
como otra estrella digna de herirlas y eclipsarlas. 


Aire de nocturno 

79/9 

Tengo mucho miedo 
de las hojas muertas, 
miedo de los prados 
llenos de rocio. 

Yo voy a dormirme; 
si no me despiertas, 
dejare a tu lado mi corazon frio. 

«iQue es eso que suena 
muy lejos?» 

«Amor, 

el viento en las vidrieras, 
jamor mio!>> 

Te puse collares 
con gemas de aurora. 

;Por que me abandonas 
en este camino? 

Si te vas muy lejos 



17 


Book of Poems 

But you listened to the air’s accents in vain. 

The sweet serenade never reached you. 

Behind your windows still you look and yearn. 

The sadness that will flood your soul 
when your wasted breast discovers 
the passion of a girl new to love. 

Your body will be buried 
untouched by emotion. 

A dawn song will spread 
across the dark earth. 

Two blood-red carnations will spring from your eyes, 
and from your breasts, snow-white roses. 

But your great sadness will join the stars, 
a new star to wound and outshine the skies. 


Nocturnal Air 

1919 

I’m petrified 
by dead leaves, 
by meadows 
full of dew. 

I’ll sleep. 

If you don’t wake me, 

I’ll leave beside you my cold heart. 

‘What’s that sound 
so far away?’ 

‘Love. 

The wind on the panes, 
my love!’ 

Round your neck I placed 
the gems of dawn. 

Why do you desert me 
on this road? 

If you go oft so far 



Libro de Poemas 

mi pajaro llora 
y la verde vina 
no dara su vino. 

«iQue es eso que suena 
muy lejos?» 

«Amor, 

el viento en las vidrieras, 
jamor mio!» 

Tu no sabras nunca, 
esfinge de nieve, 
lo mucho que yo 
te hubiera querido 
esas madrugadas 
cuando tanto llueve 
y en la rama seca 
se deshace el nido. 

«iQue es eso que suena 
muy lejos?» 

«Amor, 

el viento en las vidrieras, 
jamor mio!» 


Cancion primaveral 

28 de marzo de igig 
(Granada) 

1 

Salen los ninos alegres 
de la escuela, 
poniendo en el aire tibio 
del Abril, canciones tiernas. 
jQue alegria tiene el hondo 
silencio de la calleja! 

Un silencio hecho pedazos 
por risas de plata nueva. 



Book of Poems 

my bird sobs, 

and the green vineyard 

won’t give its wine. 

‘What’s that sound 
so far away?’ 

‘Love. 

The wind on the panes, 
my love!’ 

You’ll never know 
how much I’d 
have loved you, 
snow-sphinx, 
in those dawns 
when it rains so hard 
and the nest comes apart 
on the dry branch. 

‘What’s that sound 
so far away?’ 

‘Love. 

The wind on the panes, 
my love!’ 


Spring Song 

28 March igig 
(Granada) 

1 

Happy children emerge 
from school 
sending tender songs 
into mild April air. 

Such joy for the deep 
silence of the alleyway! 

A silence smashed to pieces 
by bright new silver laughter. 



20 


Libro de Poemas 


ii 

Voy camino de la tarde 
entre flores de la huerta 
dejando sobre el camino 
el agua de mi tristeza. 

En el monte solitario 
un cementerio de aldea 
parece un campo sembrado 
con granos de cala veras. 

Y han florecido cipreses 
como gigantes cabezas 
que con orbitas vacias 
y verdosas cabelleras 
pensativos y dolientes 
el horizonte contemplan. 

j Abril divino, que vienes 
cargado de sol y esencias, 
llena con nidos de oro 
las floridas calaveras! 


Sueno 

Mayo de i gig 

Mi corazon reposa junto a la fuente fria. 

(Llenalo con tus hilos, 
arana del olvido.) 

El agua de la fuente su cancion le decia. 

(Llenalo con tus hilos, 
arana del olvido.) 

Mi corazon despierto sus amores decia. 

(Arana del silencio, 
tejele tu misterio.) 



Book of Poems 


21 


ii 

I take the afternoon path 
among orchard flowers 
leaving on the way 
the water of my sadness. 

On the lonely hill 
a village cemetery 
looks like a field sown 
with seeds of skulls. 

Cypresses have flourished 
like green-haired 
hollow-socket 
giant heads 
pensive and in pain 
contemplating the horizon. 

Sacred April, now here 
with your cargoes of essence and sun, 
fill the flowering skulls 
with nests of gold! 


Dream 

May igig 

My heart rests beside the cool fountain. 

(Fill it with your thread, 
spider of oblivion.) 

The fountain water sang it its song. 

(Fill it with your thread, 
spider of oblivion.) 

My wakened heart told of its loves. 

(Spider of silence 
spin it your mystery.) 



Libro de Poemas 

El agua de la fiiente lo escuchaba sombria. 


(Arana del silencio, 
tejele tu misterio.) 

Mi corazon se vuelca sobre la fuente fria. 

(jManos blancas, lejanas, 
detened a las aguas!) 

Y el agua se lo lleva cantando de alegria. 

(jManos blancas, lejanas, 
nada queda en las aguas!) 


Balada de la placeta 

X 9 X 9 

Cantan los ninos 
en la noche quieta: 
jArroyo claro, 
fuente serena! 

LOS NINOS 

iQue tiene tu divino 
corazon en fiesta? 

YO 

Un doblar de campanas 
perdidas en la niebla. 

LOS NINOS 

Ya nos dejas cantando 
en la plazuela. 
jArroyo claro, 
fuente serena! 

,;Que tienes en tus manos 
de primavera? 



23 


Book of Poems 

The shadowed water listened. 

(Spider of silence, 
spin it your mystery.) 

My heart capsizes in the cold fountain. 

(White hands, far away, 
hold back the waters.) 

And the water carries it off singing with joy. 

(White hands, far away, 
nothing remains in the waters!) 


Ballad of the Little Square 

igig 

In the still night 
the children sing. 

Clear stream, 
calm fountain! 

THE CHILDREN 

What’s in your festive 
godly heart? 


i 

A toll of bells 
lost in mist. 

THE CHILDREN 

Now you leave us singing 
on the little square, 
clear stream, 
calm fountain! 

What do you hold 
in your springtime hands? 





Libro de Poemas 


YO 

Una rosa de sangre 
y una azucena. 

LOS NINOS 

Mojalas en el agua 
de la cancion aneja. 
jArroyo claro, 
fuente serena! 

iQue sientes en tu boca 
roja y sedientaP 

YO 

El sabor de los huesos 
de mi gran calavera. 

LOS NINOS 

Bebe el agua tranquila 
de la cancion aneja. 
jArroyo claro, 
fuente serena! 

d'Por que te vas tan lejos 
de la plazuela? 

YO 

jVoy en busca de magos 
y de princesas! 

LOS NINOS 

iQuien te enseno el camino 
de los poetas? 

YO 

La fuente y el arroyo 
de la cancion aneja. 

LOS NINOS 

i'Te vas lejos, muy lejos 
del mar y de la tierra? 



Book of Poems 


25 


1 

A rose of blood 
and a white lily. 

THE CHILDREN 

Wet them in the water 
of the ancient song. 

Clear stream, 
calm fountain! 

What’s in your red 
and thirsty mouth? 

1 

The bone-taste 
of my great skull. 

THE CHILDREN 

Drink the calm water 
of the ancient song. 

Clear stream, 
calm fountain! 

Why do you stray so far 
from the little square? 

1 

I go in search of sorcerers 
and princesses! 

THE CHILDREN 

Who taught you the way 
of the poets? 


1 

The stream and the fountain 
of the ancient song. 

THE CHILDREN 

Are you going very, very far 
from the sea and the earth? 



26 


Libro de Poemas 


YO 

Se ha llenado de luces 
mi corazon de seda, 
de campanas perdidas, 
de lirios y de abejas. 

Y yo me ire muy lejos, 
mas alia de esas sierras, 
mas alia de los mares, 
cerca de las estrellas, 
para pedirle a Cristo 
Senor que me devuelva 
mi alma antigua de nino, 
madura de leyendas, 
con el gorro de plumas 
y el sable de madera. 

LOS NINOS 

Ya nos dejas cantando 
en la plazuela: 
jArroyo claro, 
fuente serena! 

Las pupilas enormes 
de las frondas resecas, 
heridas por el viento, 
lloran las hojas muertas. 


La balada del agua del mar 

1920 

A Emilio Prados 
(cazador de nubes ) 

El mar 

sonrie a lo lejos. 

Dientes de espuma, 
labios de cielo. 

— i'Que vendes, oh joven turbia, 
con los senos al aire? 



Book of Poems 


i 

My silk heart’s 
filled with lights, 
lost bells, 
lilies and bees, 
and I’ll go far, 

further than these mountains, 
further than the seas, 
close to the stars 
and I’ll say to Christ, 

Lord, give me back 
the child’s soul I once had, 
steeped in legends, 
with the feathered cap 
and the wooden sabre. 

THE CHILDREN 

And now you leave us singing 
on the little square, 
clear stream, 
calm fountain! 

Huge pupils 
of dried-out fronds, 
wounded by the wind, 
weep for dead leaves. 

Seawater Ballad 

ig2o 

To Emilio Prados 
(hunter of clouds) 

The sea 

smiles from afar. 

Teeth of foam, 
lips of sky. 

‘What do you sell, young, 
troubled, bare-breasted woman?’ 



28 


Libro de Poemas 


— Vendo, senor, el agua 
de los mares. 

— i'Que llevas, oh negro joven, 
mezclado con tu sangre? 

— Llevo, senor, el agua 
de los mares. 

— ;F,sas lagrimas salobres 
de donde vienen, madre? 

— Lloro, senor, el agua 
de los mares. 

— Corazon, ;y esta amargura 
seria, de donde nace? 

— jAmarga mucho el agua 
de los mares! 

El mar 

sonrie a lo lejos. 

Dientes de espuma, 
labios de cielo. 


Sueno 

Mayo de i gig 

Iba yo montado sobre 
un macho cabrlo. 

El abuelo me hablo 
y me dijo: 

«Ese es tu camino.» 

«jEs ese!», grito mi sombra, 
disfrazada de mendigo. 

«jEs aquel de oro!», dijeron 
mis vestidos. 

Un gran cisne me guino, 



Book of Poems 


29 


‘Sir, the water of the seas.’ 

‘What is it that’s mixed, dark boy, 
with your blood?’ 

‘Sir, the water of the seas.’ 


‘Where do those salt tears 
come from, mother?’ 

‘Sir, my eyes weep the water of the seas.’ 


‘Heart, what is the source 
of this grave bitterness?’ 

‘The water of the seas 
spreads a bitter cover!’ 

The sea 

smiles from afar. 

Teeth of foam, 
lips of sky. 


Dream 

May igig 

I rode astride 
a billy goat. 

Grandfather said to me: 

‘Your way lies there.’ 

‘Yes, yes’, shouted my shadow, 
dressed like a beggar. 

My clothes said: 

‘It’s paved with gold!’ 

A great swan winked and said: 
‘Follow me!’ 



3 ° 


Libro de Poemas 


diciendo: «jVente conmigo!» 

Y una serpiente mordia 
mi sayal de peregrino. 

Mirando al cielo, pensaba: 

«Yo no tengo camino. 

Las rosas del fin seran 
como las del principio. 

En niebla se convierte 
la carne y el rocio.» 

Mi caballo fantastico me lleva 
por un campo rojizo. 

«jDejame!», clamo, llorando, 
mi corazon pensativo. 

Yo lo abandone en la tierra, 
lleno de tristeza. 

Vino 

la noche, llena de arrugas 
y de sombras. 

Alumbran el camino, 
los ojos luminosos y azulados 
de mi macho cabrio. 


Otra cancion 

igig ( Otono ) 

jEl sueno se deshizo para siempre! 

En la tarde lluviosa 
mi corazon aprende 
la tragedia otonal 
que los arboles llueven. 

Y en la dulce tristeza 
del paisaje que muere 



Book of Poems 

and a snake bit 
my pilgrim smock. 


I looked at the sky and thought: 
‘Where is my path? 

The last roses will be 
like the first. 

In the mist flesh 
changes, and dew.’ 

My fantasy horse bears me 
over red land. 

‘Let me be!’ my pensive heart 
shouted, weeping. 

I left it in the earth, 
filled with sadness. 

Night came 
full of folds 
and shadows. 

The way is lit 
by the luminous azure eyes 
of my billy goat. 


Another Song 

i gig ( Autumn ) 

The dream came apart for good! 

In the rain-swept afternoon 
my heart discovers 
the tragedy of autumn 
raining from the trees. 

And in the sweet sadness 
of the dying landscape 



Libro de Poemas 


mis voces se quebraron. 

El sueno se deshizo para siempre. 
jPara siempre! jDios mio! 

Va cayendo la nieve 
en el campo desierto 
de mi vida, 
y teme 

la ilusion, que va lejos, 
de helarse o de perderse. 

jComo me dice el agua 
que el sueno se deshizo para siempre! 
i‘El sueno es infinitoP 
La niebla lo sostiene, 
y la niebla es tan solo 
cansancio de la nieve. 

Mi ritmo va contando 
que el sueno se deshizo para siempre. 
Y en la tarde brumosa 
mi corazon aprende 
la tragedia otonal 
que los arboles llueven. 


El macho cabrio 

1919 

El rebano de cabras ha pasado 
junto al agua del rio. 

En la tarde de rosa y de zafiro, 
llena de paz romantica, 
yo miro 

al gran macho cabrio. 

jSalve, demonio mudo! 

Eres el mas 
intenso animal. 



Book of Poems 

my voices cracked. 

The dream came apart for good. 
For good! 

Snow’s felling 
on the barren field 
of my life; 

everywhere the dread 
of freezing or getting lost. 


How the water tells me 
that the dream came apart for good! 
Dream without end? 

The mist says so, 
and the mist is just 
the snow’s respite. 

My rhythm’s story is 
that the dream came apart for good. 
And in the misty afternoon 
my heart discovers 
the tragedy of autumn 
raining from the trees. 


The Billy Goat 

igig 

The herd of goats passed where 
the river flows. 

In the sapphire pink afternoon 
heavy with romantic peace, 

I watch 

the great billy goat. 

Greetings, mute demon, 
you most intense of animals, 
eternal mystic 



Libro de Poemas 

Mistico eterno 
del infierno 
carnal... 

jCuantos encantos 
tiene tu barba, 
tu frente ancha, 
rudo don Juan! 

jQue gran acento el de tu mirada 
mefistofelica 
y pasional! 

Vas por los campos 
con tu manada 
hecho un eunuco 
jsiendo un sultan! 

Tu sed de sexo 
nunca se apaga; 
jbien aprendiste 
del padre Pan! 

La cabra, 

lenta te va siguiendo, 
enamorada con humildad; 
mas tus pasiones son insaciables; 
Grecia vieja 
te comprendera. 

jOh ser de hondas leyendas santas, 
de ascetas flacos y Satanas 
con piedras negras y cruces toscas, 
con fieras mansas y cuevas hondas 
donde te vieron entre la sombra 
soplar la llama 
de lo sexual! 

jMachos cornudos 
de bravas barbas! 
jResumen negro a lo medieval! 



Book of Poems 


35 


of hell 

made flesh... 


So many spells 
in your beard, 
on your broad brow, 
you brute Don Juan!* 

Such force 
in those insane 
Mephistophelian* eyes! 

You roam the fields 
with your fellows, 
emasculated 

when you’re really a sultan! 
Your need of sex 
is never satisfied. 

Father Pan* taught you well! 


The nanny goat 
follows you cautiously, 
humble in her love; 
but your passions have no boundaries; 
Ancient Greece 
would have understood. 

You come from the oldest Bible tales 
of withered ascetics and Satan 
with black stones, rude crosses, 
tame beasts, and hollow caves 
where in the shadows 
they watched you 
fan the flames of sex! 

Maleness 

of wild beard and horn! 

Dark emblems of the medieval world! 



Libro de Poemas 


Nacisteis juntos con Filomnedes 
entre la espuma casta del mar, 
y vuestras bocas 
la acariciaron 

bajo el asombro del mundo astral. 

Sois de los bosques llenos de rosas 
donde la luz es huracan; 
sois de los prados de Anacreonte, 
llenos con sangre de lo inmortal. 

jMachos cabrios! 

Sois metamorfosis 
de viejos satiros 
perdidos ya. 

Vais derramando lujuria virgen 
como no tuvo otro animal. 

illuminados del Mediodia! 

Pararse en firme 
para escuchar 

que desde el fondo de las campinas 
el gallo os dice: 

«jSalud!», al pasar. 



37 


Book of Poems 

You were born with Philommedes* 
in the sea’s chaste spray 
which your mouths kissed 
beneath astonished stars. 


You come from rose-filled woods 
of hurricane-light; 
from Anacreon’s* fields 
swamped with immortal blood. 

Billy goats, 
metamorphosis 
of old satyrs 
gone for good! 

Without another animal 
you spill virgin lechery. 

Luminous Southern beings! 
Stand still to hear the cock 
in a lost field 
wish you God speed! 
as you pass by. 



Poemas de Suites 


Cancion con reflejo 

En la pradera bailaba 
mi corazon 

(era la sombra 
de un cipres 
sobre el viento) 

y un arbol destrenzaba 
la brisa del rocio. 
jLa brisa! 

Plata del tacto. 

Yo decia: ;recuerdas? 

(No me importa 
la estrella 
ni la rosa.) 

;Rccuerdas? 

jOh palabra perdida! 

jPalabra 

sin horizonte! 

;Recuerdas'... 

En la pradera bailaba 
mi corazon. 

(Era la sombra 
de un cipres 
en el viento.) 



From Suites 


Song with Reflection 

In the meadow 
my heart danced 

(a cypress shadow 
on the wind) 

and a tree unplaited 
the dew breeze. 

Breeze, 

silver to the touch! 

I said: do you remember? 

(The star 
the rose 

do not concern me.) 

Remember? 

Lost language! 

Language 
without horizons! 

Remember? 

In the meadow 
my heart danced 

(a cypress shadow 
on the wind). 



40 


Suites 


Sesamo 


El reflejo 
es lo real. 

El rio 
y el cielo 

son puertas que nos llevan 
a lo Eterno. 

Por el cauce de las ranas 
o el cauce de los luceros 
se ira nuestro amor cantando, 
la manana del gran vuelo. 

Lo real 
es el reflejo. 

No hay mas que un corazon 
y un solo viento. 
jNo llorar! Da lo mismo 
estar cerca 
que lejos. 

Naturaleza es 
el Narciso eterno. 


Cancion bajo lagrimas 

En aquel sitio, 
muchachita de la fuente, 
que hay junto al rio, 
te quitare la rosa 
que te dio mi amigo, 
y en aquel sitio, 
muchachita de la fuente, 
yo te dare mi lirio. 

;Por que he llorado tanto? 
jEs todo tan sencillo! . . . 

Esto lo hare ,no sabes? 
cuando vuelva a ser nino. 
jAy! jay! 

Cuando vuelva a ser nino. 



Suites 


4i 


Sesame 

The reflection is 
what’s real. 

The river 
and sky 

are doors to take us 
to the Eternal. 

Down beds of frogs 
or beds of bright stars 
our love will go off, singing 
the morning of the great flight. 
The reflection is 
what’s real. 

Only a heart remains, 
only one wind. 

Don’t weep! 

Near or far, 
it’s the same. 

Eternal Narcissus,* 

Nature’s way. 

Song beneath Tears 

In that place, 

little girl of the fountain, 

that place by the river, 

I’ll take the rose 
my friend gave you, 
and in that place, 
little girl of the fountain, 

I’ll give you my lily. 

Why have I wept so much? 

It’s all so simple! 

Surely you know that I’ll do this 
when I’m a child again. 

Ay! 

when I’m a child. 



42 


Suites 


Paisaje sin cancion 

Cielo azul. 

Campo amarillo. 

Monte azul. 

Campo amarillo. 

Por la llanura tostada 
va caminando un olivo. 

Un solo 
olivo. 


Horizonte 

Sobre la verde bruma 
se cae un sol sin rayos. 

La ribera sombria 
suena al par que la barca 
y la esquila inevitable 
traba la melancolia. 

En mi alma de ayer 
suena un tamborcillo 
de plata. 


Pescadores 

El arbol gigantesco 
pesca con sus lianas 
topos raros 
de la tierra. 


El sauce sobre el remanso 
se pesca sus ruisenores. 



Suites 


43 


Landscape without Song 

Blue sky. 

Yellow field. 

Blue mountain. 

Yellow field. 

Across the scorched plain 
an olive tree drifts. 

One lone 

olive 

tree. 


Horizon 

A sun without rays 
spills on green mist. 

The shaded riverside 
dreams at the pace of a boat 
and the unavoidable bell 
measures melancholy. 

In my spent soul 
the sound of a small 
silver drum. 


Fishermen 

The giant tree’s lianas 
fish rare moles 
from the earth. 


Over the pool the willow 
fishes nightingales 



44 


Suites 


. . . pero en el anzuelo verde 
del cipres la blanca luna 
no mordera... ni 
tu corazon al mlo, 
morenita de Granada. 


Delirio 

Disuelta la tarde 
y en silencio el campo, 
los abejarucos 
vuelan suspirando. 

Los fondos deliran 
azules y blancos. 

El paisaje tiene 
abiertos sus brazos. 
jAy, senor, senor! 

Esto es demasiado. 

En el jardin de las toronjas de luna 

Prologo 

Asy como la sombra nuestra vida se va, 
que nunca mas torna nyn de nos tornara 

(Pero Lopez de Ayala, Cornejos morales ) 

Me he despedido de los amigos que mas quiero para emprender un 
corto pero dramatico viaje. Sobre un espejo de plata encuentro 
mucho antes de que amanezca el maletin con la ropa que debo usar 
en la extrana tierra a que me dirijo. 

El perfume tenso y frio de la madrugada bate misteriosamente el 
inmenso acantilado de la noche. 

En la pagina tersa del cielo temblaba la inicial de una nube, y 
debajo de mi balcon un ruisenor y una rana levantan en el aire un 
aspa sonolienta de sonido. 

Yo, tranquilo pero melancolico, hago los ultimos preparativos, 
embargado por sutilisimas emociones de alas y circulos concentricos. 



Suites 


45 


. . . but the white moon won’t take 
the cypress’s green bait. . . 
nor your heart mine, 
dark-haired girl of Granada. 


Delirium 

Fragmented evening, 
field in silence. 

Bee-eaters in flight, 
a sigh. 

Backcloth of blue and white 
deliriums. 

The landscape opens 
its arms wide. 

All too much, 

Dear God! 

In the Garden of Lunar Grapefruit 

Prologue 

And so like a shadow our life passes, 
never to return, nor we. 

(Pero Lopez de Ayala, Moral Counsels) 

I’ve said goodbye to the friends I love most in order to undertake a 
short yet dramatic journey. Long before sunrise, I find on a silver 
mirror the small case with the clothes I’ll need in the strange coun- 
try I’m making for. 

The tense, cold scent of dawn mysteriously strikes the huge slop- 
ing cliff of night. 

On the stretched page of the sky, the trembling of a cloud’s first 
letter; beneath my balcony a nightingale and a frog raise high in the 
air a drowsy cross of sound. 

As for me. I’m quiet though full of melancholy; I make final prep- 
arations, checked by the subtlest emotions of wings and concentric 



Suites 


46 

Sobre la blanca pared del cuarto, yerta y rigida como una serpiente 
de museo, cuelga la espada gloriosa que llevo mi abuelo en la guerra 
contra el rey don Carlos de Borbon. 

Piadosamente descuelgo esa espada, vestida de herrumbre amaril- 
lenta como un alamo bianco, y me la cino recordando que tengo que 
sostener una gran lucha invisible antes de entrar en el jardin. Lucha 
extatica y violentisima con mi enemigo secular, el gigantesco dragon 
del Sentido Comun. 

Una emocion aguda y elegiaca por las cosas que no han sido, buenas 
y malas, grandes y pequenas, invade los paisajes de mis ojos casi ocultos 
por unas gafas de luz violeta. Una emocion amarga que me hace cam- 
inar hacia este jardin que se estremece en las altisimas llanuras del aire. 

Los ojos de todas las criaturas golpean como puntos fosforicos sobre 
la pared del porvenir. . . lo de atras se queda lleno de maleza amarilla, 
huertos sin frutos y rios sin agua. Jamas ningun hombre cayo de 
espaldas sobre la muerte. Pero yo, por un momento, contemplando 
ese paisaje abandonado e infinite, he visto pianos de vida inedita, 
multiples y superpuestos como los cangilones de una noria sin fin. 

Antes de marchar siento un dolor agudo en el corazon. Mi familia 
duerme y toda la casa esta en un reposo absoluto. El alba, revelando 
torres y contando una a una las hojas de los arboles, me pone un cru- 
jiente vestido de encaje luminico. 

Algo se me olvida... no me cabe la menor duda... jtanto tiempo 
preparandome! y... Senor, ;que se me olvida? j Ah! Un pedazo de 
madera... uno bueno de cerezo sonrosado y compacto. 

Creo que hay que ir bien presentado... De una jarra con flores 
puesta sobre mi mesilla me prendo en el ojal siniestro una gran rosa 
palida que tiene un rostro enfurecido pero hieratico. 

Ya es la hora. 


(En las bandejas irregulares de las campanadas, vienen los kikirikis de 
los gallos.) 



Suites 


47 


circles. On the white wall of my room, stiff and rigid like a snake in 
a museum, hangs the glory-covered sword my grandfather wielded in 
the war against Don Carlos the Pretender.* 

Reverently, I take down the sword, coated in pale yellow rust like 
a white poplar, and I strap it on, remembering that I shall have to 
endure a great and invisible fight before I can enter the garden. 
A most violent, ecstatic fight against my secular enemy, the monster 
dragon called Common Sense. 

A sharp elegy of nostalgia for things that have never been — good, 
bad, large, small — invades those landscapes of my eyes which my 
tinted glasses all but cancel. A bitter feeling that makes me head 
towards this garden shimmering on the highest plains of air. 

The eyes of every creature throb like phosphorescent points 
against the wall of the future... the things of the past stay filled with 
yellow scrub, barren orchards, dried-up rivers. No man ever fell 
backwards into death. But I, briefly contemplating this abandoned, 
infinite landscape, see early sketches of the life unpublished, multiple 
and superimposed, like the scoops of an endless waterwheel. 

Preparing to leave, I feel a needle of pain in my heart. My family is 
still asleep, and the whole house is in perfect repose. Dawn, reveal- 
ing towers, and counting one by one the leaves of the trees, dresses 
me in glinting clothes of lace that crackle. 

There’s something I’m forgetting. . . I’m absolutely sure of it. . . so 
much time getting myself ready! And... Lord, what am I forgetting? 
Ah, yes, a scrap of wood. . . a nice piece of cherry wood, rose-coloured, 
tight-grained. 

I believe in being well turned out when I travel. . . From a vase of 
flowers on my side-table, I select a large pale rose and pin it to my 
left lapel, a rose with an angry but hieratic face. 

The time has come. 

(In the clashing silverware of bells, the cockadoodledoos of the 
cockerels.) 



Poemas de Poema del Cante Jondo 


Paisaje 

El campo 
de olivos 

se abre y se cierra 
como un abanico. 

Sobre el olivar 
hay un cielo hundido 
y una lluvia oscura 
de luceros frios. 

Tiembla junco y penumbra 
a la orilla del rio. 

Se riza el aire gris. 

Los olivos 
estan cargados 
de gritos. 

Una bandada 
de pajaros cautivos, 
que mueven sus larguisimas 
colas en lo sombrio. 


La guitarra 

Empieza el llanto 
de la guitarra. 

Se rompen las copas 
de la madrugada. 
Empieza el llanto 
de la guitarra. 

Es inutil 
callarla. 

Es imposible 
callarla. 

Llora monotona 
como llora el agua. 



From Poem of the Cante Jondo 


Landscape 

The field 
of olive trees 
opens and closes 
like a fan. 

Above the olive grove 
a sunken sky, 
and a cold dark rain 
of morning-stars. 

Half-light and rushes tremble 
at the river’s edge. 

Grey air crinkles. 

The olive trees 
are freighted 
with cries. 

A flock 

of captive birds 
moves long long tails 
in the gloom. 


The Guitar 

The guitar begins 
to sob. 

Dawn’s drinking cups 
smash. 

The guitar begins 
to sob. 

You can’t 
make it stop. 
Impossible 
to silence it. 

A monotone of sobs 
like water, 



50 


Poema del Cante Jondo 

como llora el viento 
sobre la nevada. 

Es imposible 
callarla. 

Llora por cosas 
lejanas. 

Arena del Sur caliente 
que pide camelias blancas. 
Llora flecha sin bianco, 
la tarde sin manana, 
y el primer pajaro muerto 
sobre la rama. 
jOh guitarra! 

Corazon malherido 
por cinco espadas. 


El grito 

La elipse de un grito 
va de monte 
a monte. 

Desde los olivos, 
sera un arco iris negro 
sobre la noche azul. 


jAy! 


Como un arco de viola, 
el grito ha hecho vibrar 
largas cuerdas del viento. 


jAy! 


(Las gentes de las cuevas 
asoman sus velones.) 


jAy! 



5i 


Poem of the Cante Jondo 

like wind 
over snow. 

Impossible 
to silence it. 

It sobs 

for distant things. 

Hot Southern sands 
imploring white camellias. 

It sobs for aimless arrow, 
evening without morning, 
and the first dead bird 
on the branch. 

O guitar! 

Heart deep-wounded 
by five swords. 

The Shout 

The shout, 
an arc 

from hill to hill. 

A black rainbow will hang 
from the olive trees 
over blue night. 

Ay! 

Like a viola bow 

the shout’s made the wind’s 

long strings vibrate. 

Ay! 

(The cave-dwellers 
bring out their lamps.) 


Ay! 



52 


Poema del Cante Jondo 


El silencio 

Oye, hijo mio, el silencio. 

Es un silencio ondulado, 
un silencio, 

donde resbalan valles y ecos 
y que inclina las frentes 
hacia el suelo. 


El paso de la Siguiriya 

Entre mariposas negras, 
va una muchacha morena 
junto a una blanca serpiente 
de niebla. 

Tierra de luz, 
cielo de tierra. 

Va encadenada al temblor 
de un ritmo que nunca llega; 
tiene el corazon de plata 
y un punal en la diestra. 

;Ad6nde vas, Siguiriya, 
con un ritmo sin cabeza? 

,jQue luna recogera 
tu dolor de cal y adelfa? 

Tierra de luz, 
cielo de tierra. 


Despues de pasar 

Los ninos miran 
un punto lejano. 

Los candiles se apagan. 
Unas muchachas ciegas 



Poem of the Catt le Jondo 


The Silence 

My child, hear the silence. 
An undulating silence, 
a silence 

of sliding valleys and echoes 
tilting brows 
towards the ground. 


Dancing the Siguiriya 

Among black butterflies 
a dusky girl walks 
with a white snake 
of mist. 

Earth of light, 
sky of earth. 

She’s chained to the tremor 
of a rhythm that never comes; 
she has a heart of silver, 
and in her right hand a dagger. 

Where’s that headless rhythm 
leading you, Siguiriya ? 

What moon will gather in 
your lime and oleander pain? 

Earth of light, 
sky of earth. 

After Passing By 

The children watch 
a distant point. 

Lamps go out. 

Some blind girls 



Poema del Cante Jondo 

preguntan a la luna, 
y por el aire ascienden 
espirales de llanto. 

Las montanas miran 
un punto lejano. 


Y despues 

Los laberintos 
que crea el tiempo, 
se desvanecen. 

(Solo queda 
el desierto.) 

El corazon, 
fuente del deseo, 
se desvanece. 

(Solo queda 
el desierto.) 

La ilusion de la aurora 
y los besos, 
se desvanecen. 

Solo queda 
el desierto. 

Un ondulado 
desierto. 


Tierra seca 

Tierra seca, 
tierra quieta 
de noches 


mmensas. 



Poem of the Cante Jondo 

question the moon 
and spirals of grief 
rise in the air. 

The mountains survey 
a distant point. 


And After 

The labyrinths 
formed by time 
dissolve. 

(Only desert 
remains.) 

The heart, 
fountain of desire, 
dissolves. 

(Only desert 
remains.) 

The illusion of dawn 
and kisses 
dissolve. 

Only desert 
Remains. 

Undulating 

desert. 

Parched Land 

Parched land 
quiet land 
of huge 
nights. 



Poema del Cante Jondo 

(Viento en el olivar, 
viento en la sierra.) 

Tierra 

vieja 

del candil 
y la pena. 

Tierra 

de las hondas cisternas. 
Tierra 

de la muerte sin ojos 
y las flechas. 

(Viento por los caminos. 
Brisa en las alamedas.) 


Pueblo 

Sobre el monte pelado, 
un calvario. 

Agua clara 
y olivos centenarios. 

Por las callejas 
hombres embozados, 
y en las torres 
veletas girando. 
Eternamente 
girando. 

jOh pueblo perdido 
en la Andalucia del llanto! 


Punal 


El punal 

entra en el corazon, 
como la reja del arado 
en el yermo. 



Poem of the Cattle Jondo 

(Wind in the olive grove, 
wind on the sierra.) 

Old 

land 

of lamps 
and pain. 

Land 

of deep reservoirs. 

Land 

of death without eyes, 
and arrows. 

(Wind on the paths, 
breeze among the poplars.) 


Town 


A Calvary 

on the bare hilltop. 

Clear water 

and centenarian olive trees. 

Down narrow streets 

muffled men, 

and on towers 

spinning weathervanes. 

Spinning 

for ever. 

O lost town 
of Andalusia weeping! 


Dagger 

The dagger 
enters the heart 
like a plough 
in dry soil. 



Poema del Cante Jondo 
No. 

No me lo claves. 

No. 

El punal, 

como un rayo de sol, 
incendia las terribles 
hondonadas. 

No. 

No me lo claves. 

No. 


Encrucijada 

Viento del Este, 
un farol 
y el punal 
en el corazon. 

La calle 

tiene un temblor 
de cuerda 
en tension, 
un temblor 

de enorme moscardon. 
Por todas partes 
yo 

veo el punal 
en el corazon. 


jAy! 

El grito deja en el viento 
una sombra de cipres. 


(Dejadme en este campo 
llorando.) 



59 


Poem of the Cante Jondo 
No. 

Don ’t thrust it in me. 
No. 

The dagger 
like a ray of sun 
sets fire to awful 
depths. 


No. 

Don ’t thrust it in me. 
No. 


Crossroads 

East wind; 
a lantern 
and dagger 
in the heart. 

The street 
vibrates 

like stretched rope, 

vibration 

of a huge hornet. 

Everywhere 

I 

see the dagger 
in the heart. 


Ay! 

The shout leaves a cypress shadow 
on the wind. 

(Leave me in this field 
weeping.) 



Poema del Cante Jondo 

Todo se ha roto en el mundo. 
No queda mas que el silencio. 

(Dejadme en este campo 
llorando.) 

El horizonte sin luz 
esta mordido de hogueras. 

(Ya os he dicho que me dejeis 

en este campo 

llorando.) 


Sorpresa 

Muerto se quedo en la calle 
con un punal en el pecho. 

No lo conocia nadie. 
jComo temblaba el farol! 

Mad re. 

jComo temblaba el farolito 
de la calle! 

Era madrugada. Nadie 
pudo asomarse a sus ojos 
abiertos al duro aire. 

Que muerto se quedo en la calle 
que con un punal en el pecho 
y que no lo conocia nadie. 


La Solea 

Vestida con mantos negros 
piensa que el mundo es chiquito 
y el corazon es inmenso. 

Vestida con mantos negros. 

Piensa que el suspiro tierno 
y el grito, desaparecen 
en la corriente del viento. 



Poem of the Cante Jondo 

All in this world has broken. 
All that’s left is silence. 

(Leave me in this field 
weeping.) 

The blackened horizon 
is bitten by fires. 

(I’ve told you to leave me 

in this field 

weeping.) 


Surprise 

He lay in the street, dead, 
a dagger through his heart. 

No one knew him. 

How the lamp shook! 

Mother. 

How the little street-lamp shook! 
It was dawn. No one 
could meet his eyes, 
open to the hard air. 

For he lay in the street, dead, 
a dagger through his heart, 
and no one knew him. 


The Soled 

Dressed in black cloaks 
she thinks the world tiny, 
the heart immense. 

Dressed in black cloaks. 

She thinks the soft whisper 
and the shout vanish 
carried off on the wind. 



Poema del Cante Jondo 
Vestida con mantos negros. 

Se dejo el balcon abierto 
y al alba por el balcon 
desemboco todo el cielo. 

i Ay y ay ay ay ay, 

que vestida con mantos negros! 


Cueva 

De la cueva salen 
largos sollozos. 

(Lo cardeno 
sobre lo rojo.) 

El gitano evoca 
palses remotos. 

(Torres altas y hombres 
misteriosos.) 

En la voz entrecortada 
van sus ojos. 

(Lo negro 
sobre lo rojo.) 

Y la cueva encalada 
tiembla en el oro. 

(Lo bianco 
sobre lo rojo.) 



Poem of the Cante Jondo 
Dressed in black cloaks. 

The balcony was open 
and at dawn the whole sky 
spilt down through the balcony. 

Ay ay ay ay ay, 
dressed in black cloaks! 


Cave 

From the cave 
come long laments. 

(Purple 
on red.) 

The gypsy conjures 
distant lands. 

(High towers and men 
of mystery.) 

His eyes move 
to the cracked voice. 

(Black 
on red.) 

And the whitewashed cave 
trembles in gold. 


(White 
on red.) 



64 


Poema del Cante Jondo 


Encuentro 

Ni tu ni yo estamos 
en disposition 
de encontrarnos. 

Tu... por lo que ya sabes. 
jYo la he querido tanto! 
Sigue esa verecita. 

En las manos 
tengo los agujeros 
de los clavos. 

;No ves como me estoy 
desangrando? 

No mires nunca atras, 
vete despacio 
y reza como yo 
a San Cayetano, 
que ni tu ni yo estamos 
en disposition 
de encontrarnos. 


Alba 

Campanas de Cordoba 
en la madrugada. 

Campanas de amanecer 
en Granada. 

Os sienten todas las muchachas 
que lloran a la tierna 
Solea enlutada. 

Las muchachas 
de Andalucia la alta 
y la baja. 

Las ninas de Espana, 
de pie menudo 
y temblorosas faldas, 
que han llenado de luces 
las encrucijadas. 



Poem of the Cante Jondo 


65 


Meeting 

You and I — 
neither ready 
to meet. 

You. . . you know why. 

I loved her so much! 
Down this little path. 
Nail-holes 
in my hands. 

Don’t you see 
my blood draining? 
Never look behind you, 
walk slowly away 
and like me pray 
To Saint Cayetano 
for you and I, 
neither’s ready 
to meet. 


Dawn 

Cordoba bells 
at daybreak. 

Dawn bells 
in Granada. 

All the girls weeping 
to the tender, grieving soled 
recognize you. 

The girls 

of High Andalusia and Low. 
Young girls of Spain 
slight-footed shimmer-skirted 
girls who’ve filled crossroads 
with lights. 

Cordoba bells 
at daybreak, 



Poenui del Cante Jondo 

jOh campanas de Cordoba 
en la madrugada, 
y oh campanas de amanecer 
en Granada! 


Arqueros 

Los arqueros oscuros 
a Sevilla se acercan. 

Guadalquivir abierto. 

Anchos sombreros grises, 
largas capas lentas. 

/Ay, Guadalquivir ! 

Vienen de los remotos 
paises de la pena. 

Guadalquivir abierto. 

Y van a un laberinto. 
Amor, cristal y piedra. 

/Ay, Guadalquivir! 


Noche 

Cirio, candil, 
farol y luciernaga. 

La constelacion 
de la saeta. 

Ventanitas de oro 
tiemblan, 

y en la aurora se mecen 
cruces superpuestas. 



Poem of the Cante Jondo 

and dawn bells 
in Granada! 


Bowmen 

The dark bowmen 
close in on Seville. 

Spreading Guadalquivir* 

Grey broad-brimmed hats, 
long slow capes. 

Ay, Guadalquivir! 

They come from far 
countries of pain. 

Spreading Guadalquivir. 

And head for a labyrinth. 
Love, glass, stone. 

Ay, Guadalquivir! 

Night 

Lamp, candle, 
firefly, lantern. 

The saeta ’ s 
constellation. 

Little windows of gold 
tremble, 

and in the dawn the sway 
of cross upon cross. 



Poema del Cante Jondo 

Cirio, candil, 
farol y luciernaga. 


Sevilla 

Sevilla es una torre 
llena de arqueros finos. 

Sevilla para herir. 

Cordoba para morir. 

Una ciudad que acecha 
largos ritmos. 
y los enrosca 
como laberintos. 

Como tallos de parra 
encendidos. 

/ Sevilla para herir! 

Bajo el arco del cielo, 
sobre su llano limpio, 
dispara la constante 
saeta de su rio. 

/ Cordoba para morir! 

Y loca de horizonte, 
mezcla en su vino 
lo amargo de Don Juan 
y lo perfecto de Dionisio. 

Sevilla para herir. 
jSiempre Sevilla para herir! 



Poem of the Cante Jondo 

Lamp, candle, 
firefly, lantern. 


Seville 

Seville is a tower 
full of fine bowmen. 

Seville for wounds 
Cordoba for death. 

A city that snares 
slow rhythms 
and twists them 
like labyrinths 
like vine-shoots, 
blazing. 

Seville for wounds! 

Beneath the sky’s arc, 
over its clean plain, 
the constant saeta 
dart of the river. 

Cordoba for death! 

Mad with horizon, 

it mixes in its wine 

Don Juan’s bitterness 

and the perfection of Dionysus. 

Seville for wounds! 

Always Seville for wounds! 



7 o 


Poema del Cante Jondo 


Procesion 

Por la calleja vienen 
extranos unicornios. 

;Dc que campo, 

de que bosque mitologico? 

Mas cerca, 

ya parecen astronomos. 
Fantasticos Merlines 
y el Ecce Homo, 
Durandarte encantado, 
Orlando furioso. 


Paso 

Virgen con mirinaque, 
Virgen de la Soledad, 
abierta como un inmenso 
tulipan. 

En tu barco de luces 
vas 

por la alta marea 
de la ciudad, 
entre saetas turbias 
y estrellas de cristal. 
Virgen con mirinaque, 
tu vas 

por el rio de la calle, 
jhasta el mar! 


Saeta 

Cristo moreno 
pasa 

de brio de Judea 
a clavel de Espana. 



Poem of the Cante Jondo 


7i 


Procession 

Down alleyways 
come strange unicorns. 
From what field 
what mythic wood? 

Closer to 

they seem like astronomers. 
Fantastic Merlins,* 
the Ecce Flomo,* 
enchanted Durandarte,* 
Orlando furioso.* 


Float, Holy Week 

Virgin with crinoline. 
Virgin of Solitude, 
open like a gigantic 
tulip. 

In your boat of lights 
you move 
on the high tide 
of the city 
among smoky saetas 
and stars of glass. 

Virgin with crinoline, 
you move 

down the river of the street 
and out to the sea! 


Saeta 

Dark Christ 
passes 

from lily of Judaea 
to carnation of Spain. 



72 


Poema del Cante Jondo 
jMiradlo por donde viene! 


De Espana. 

Cielo limpio y oscuro, 
tierra tostada, 
y cauces donde corre 
muy lenta el agua. 

Cristo moreno, 
con las guedejas quemadas, 
los pomulos salientes 
y las pupilas blancas. 

jMiradlo por donde va! 


Balcon 


La Lola 
canta saetas. 

Los toreritos 
la rodean, 
y el barberillo, 
desde su puerta, 
sigue los ritmos 
con la cabeza. 
Entre la albahaca 
y la hierbabuena, 
la Lola canta 
saetas. 

La Lola aquella, 
que se miraba 
tanto en la alberca. 


Madrugada 

Pero como el amor 
los saeteros 
estan ciegos. 



Poem of the Cante Jondo 
See where he comes!* 


73 


Of Spain. 

Clean dark sky, 
Sun-browned earth, 
and riverbeds whose water 
creeps by. 

Dark Christ, 
scorched locks of hair 
high cheekbones 
and white pupils. 

See where he goes! 

Balcony 


Lola 

sings saetas. 

Pretend toreros 
circle round, 
and from his doorway 
the little barber 
nods his head 
in rhythm. 

Among the basil 
and mint, 

Lola sings 
saetas. 

Lola, she 

who gazed at herself 
for so long in the pool. 


Dawn 

But like love’s 
arrows, saetas 

fly blind. 



74 


Poema del Cante Jondo 

Sobre la noche verde, 
las saetas 

dejan rastros de lirio 
caliente. 

La quilla de la luna 
rompe nubes moradas 
y las aljabas 
se llenan de roclo. 

jAy, pero como el amor 
los saeteros 
estan ciegos! 



Poem of the Cattle Jondo 

Saetas, 

burning lily 
streaking green night. 


The keel of the moon 
breaks mulberry clouds 
and quivers 
fill with dew. 


Ay, but like love’s 
arrows, saetas 

fly blind! 



Poemas de Canciones 


Nocturnos de la ventana 

A la memoria de Jose de Ciriay Escalante. Poeta 


Alta va la luna. 

Bajo corre el viento. 

(Mis largas miradas, 
exploran el cielo.) 

Luna sobre el agua. 
Luna bajo el viento. 

(Mis cortas miradas 
exploran el suelo.) 

Las voces de dos ninas 
venian. Sin esfuerzo, 

de la luna del agua, 
me fui a la del cielo. 

2 

Un brazo de la noche 
entra por mi ventana. 

Un gran brazo moreno 
con pulseras de agua. 

Sobre un cristal azul 
jugaba al rio mi alma. 

Los instantes heridos 
por el reloj . . . pasaban. 



From Songs 


Nocturnes at the Window 

the memory of Jose tie Ciriay Escalante. Poet 


The moon rides high. 

The wind runs below. 

(My sweeping gaze 
explores the sky.) 

Moon on water. 

Moon below the wind. 

(My close gaze 
explores the ground.) 

Two girls’ voices 
approached. Easily 
I went from the water’s moon 
to the moon in the sky. 

2 

An arm of night 
comes through my window. 

A great dark arm 
wearing bracelets of water. 

On blue crystal 
my soul played at rivers. 

Moments wounded 
by the clock... passed by. 



Canciones 


3 

Asomo la cabeza 
por mi ventana, y veo 
como quiere cortarla 
la cuchilla del viento. 

En esta guillotina 
invisible, yo he puesto 
las cabezas sin ojos 
de todos mis deseos. 

Y un olor de limon 
lleno el instante inmenso, 
mientras se convertia 
en flor de gasa el viento. 

4 

A1 estanque se le ha muerto 
hoy una nina de agua. 

Esta fuera del estanque, 
sobre el suelo amortajada. 

De la cabeza a sus muslos 
un pez la cruza, llamandola. 

El viento le dice «Nina», 
mas no puede despertarla. 

El estanque tiene suelta 
su cabellera de algas 
y al aire sus grises tetas 
estremecidas de ranas. 

«Dios te salve» rezaremos 
a Nuestra Senora de Agua 
por la nina del estanque 
muerta bajo las manzanas. 

Yo luego pondre a su lado 
dos pequenas calabazas 
para que se tenga a flote, 
jay! sobre la mar salada. 



Songs 

3 


79 


I put my head 
out of my window and see 
how much the wind’s knife 
wants to slice it olf. 

On this unseen 
guillotine. I’ve placed 
the eyeless head 
of all my desires. 

And the lemon scent 
filled the immense moment 
while the wind became 
a bloom of gauze. 

4 

There today in the pond 
a water girl has found death. 

Pulled from the pond, 
she’s laid out in a shroud. 

From her head to her thighs 
a fish crosses, calling her name. 
The wind says ‘child’, 
but can’t wake her. 

The pond has shaken out 
her seaweed hair, 
her grey bared teats 
trembling with frogs. 

God keep you. We’ll pray 
to Our Lady of Water 
for the girl in the pond 
under the apples, dead. 

Later I’ll place two small gourds 
beside her so she may float 
on the salt sea. 

Ay! 



8o 


Canciones 


Cancion tonta 

Mama. 

Yo quiero ser de plata. 
Hijo, 

tendras mucho frio. 
Mama. 

Yo quiero ser de agua. 
Hijo, 

tendras mucho frio. 
Mama. 

Bordame en tu almohada. 
jEso si! 

jAhora mismo! 


Cancion de jinete 

Cordoba. 

Lejana y sola. 

Jaca negra, luna grande, 
y aceitunas en mi alforja. 
Aunque sepa los caminos 
yo nunca llegare a Cordoba. 

Por el llano, por el viento, 
jaca negra, luna roja. 

La muerte me esta mirando 
desde las torres de Cordoba. 

jAy, que camino tan largo! 
jAy, mi jaca valerosa! 



Songs 


Foolish Song 

Mama, 

I want to turn into silver. 
Son, 

you’d freeze. 

Mama, 

I want to turn into water. 
Son, 

you’d freeze. 

Mama, 

sew me into your pillow. 

This time yes, 
and straightaway! 


Horseman’s Song 

Cordoba, 
alone and far. 

Black pony, large moon, 
olives in my saddlebag. 

Though I know the way 
I’ll never get to Cordoba. 

Through the wind, across the plain, 
black pony, red moon. 

Death is watching me 
from the towers of Cordoba. 

Such a long road! 

My valiant mount! 



Canciones 


jAy, que la muerte me espera, 
antes de llegar a Cordoba! 

Cordoba. 

Lejana y sola. 


jEs verdad! 

jAy, que trabajo me cuesta 
quererte como te quiero! 

Por tu amor me duele el aire, 
el corazon 
y el sombrero. 


iQuien me comprarla a ml, 
este cintillo que tengo 
y esta tristeza de hilo 
bianco, para hacer panuelos? 

jAy que trabajo me cuesta 
quererte como te quiero! 


Verlaine 

La cancion, 
que nunca dire, 
se ha dormido en mis labios. 
La cancion, 
que nunca dire. 

Sobre las madreselvas 
habia una luciernaga, 
y la luna picaba 
con un rayo en el agua. 

Entonces yo sone, 
la cancion, 
que nunca dire. 



§3 


Songs 

Death awaits me 
before I get to Cordoba! 

Cordoba, 
alone and far. 


It’s true! 

What it costs me 
to love you as I do! 

Air hurts me, 
heart, 
hat, 

loving you. 

Who’ll buy my hatband, 
this sadness of white thread, 
and turn them into handkerchiefs? 


What it costs me 
to love you as I do! 

Verlaine 

The song 
I’ll never sing 
fell silent on my lips. 
The song 
I’ll never sing. 

A firefly 

was on the honeysuckle 
and a moonbeam 
stabbed the water. 

So then I dreamt 
the song 
I’ll never sing. 



Canciones 


Cancion llena de labios 
y de cauces lejanos. 

Cancion llena de horas 
perdidas en la sombra. 

Cancion de estrella viva 
sobre un perpetuo dia. 


Baco 

Verde rumor intacto. 

La higuera me tiende sus brazos. 

Como una pantera, su sombra, 
acecha mi lirica sombra. 

La luna cuenta los perros. 

Se equivoca y empieza de nuevo. 

Ayer, manana, negro y verde, 
rondas mi cerco de laureles. 

iQuien te querria como yo, 
si me cambiaras el corazon? 

... Y la higuera me grita y avanza 
terrible y multiplicada. 


Juan Ramon Jimenez 

En el bianco infinito, 
nieve, nardo y salina, 
perdio su fantasia. 

El color bianco, anda, 
sobre una muda alfombra 
de plumas de paloma. 



85 


Songs 

Song filled with lips, 
welling up from afar. 

Song filled with hours 
counted olf in the shade. 

Song of the star alive 
above perpetual day. 


Bacchus 

Green murmur, intact. 

The fig tree spreads out its arms to me. 

Like a panther, it shadows 
my lyrical shadow. 

The moon counts dogs, 
gets lost and starts again. 

Yesterday, tomorrow, black and green, 
you circle my laurel wreath. 

If only you changed my heart, 

I’d love you like nobody else. 

. . . The fig tree shouts at me, advancing, 
fearsome multiplicity. 


Juan Ramon Jimenez 

In the infinite white, 
snow, salt-flat, spikenard, 
his imagination went. 

On then, colour white, 
across a soundless carpet 
of pigeon feathers. 



86 


Canciones 


Sin ojos ni ademan 
inmovil sufre un sueno. 
Pero tiembla por dentro. 

En el bianco infinito, 
jque pura y larga herida 
dejo su fantasia! 

En el bianco infinito. 
Nieve. Nardo. Salina. 


Venus 

Asi te vi 

La joven muerta 
en la concha de la cama, 
desnuda de flor y brisa 
surgia en la luz perenne. 

Quedaba el mundo, 
lirio de algodon y sombra, 
asomado a los cristales 
viendo el transito infinito. 

La joven muerta, 
surcaba el amor por dentro. 
Entre la espuma de las sabanas 
se perdia su cabellera. 


Debussy 

Mi sombra va silenciosa 
por el agua de la acequia. 

Por mi sombra estan las ranas 
privadas de las estrellas. 

La sombra manda a mi cuerpo 
reflejos de cosas quietas. 



87 


Songs 

No eyes, no gesture, motionless, 
a dream plagues him. 

But inside he trembles. 

In the infinite white, 
the pure white wound 
his imagination left! 

In the infinite white. 

Snow. Salt-flat. Spikenard. 


Venus 

I saw you thus 

The young woman, dead, 
in the shell of the bed, 
stripped of breeze and flowers 
rose into undimmed light. 

The world remained, 
a lily of cotton and shade, 
through window panes 
watching the infinite transit. 

The young woman, dead, 
proffered love from within. 
Her hair vanished 
in the foam of sheets. 


Debussy 

My shadow moves silently 
down the coursing water. 

My shadow deprives the frogs 
of stars. 

The shadow sends my body 
reflections of still things. 



Canciones 


Mi sombra va como inmenso 
cinife color violeta. 

Cien grillos quieren dorar 
la luz de la canavera. 

Una luz nace en mi pecho, 
reflejado, de la acequia. 

Narciso 


Nino. 

jQue te vas a caer al rio! 

En lo hondo hay una rosa 
y en la rosa hay otro rio. 

jMira aquel pajaro! jMira 
aquel pajaro amarillo! 

Se me han caido los ojos 
dentro del agua. 

jDios mio! 

jQue se resbala! jMuchacho! 

... y en la rosa estoy yo mismo. 

Cuando se perdio en el agua, 
comprendi. Pero no explico. 


Al oido de una muchacha 

No quise. 

No quise decirte nada. 

Vi en tus ojos 
dos arbolitos locos. 

De brisa, de risa y de oro. 



8 9 


Songs 

My shadow moves like a huge 
violet gnat. 

A hundred crickets try to gild 
the light of the reeds. 

A new glow in my breast, 
reflected from the water. 


Narcissus 


Child! 

You’ll fall in the river! 

In the depths there’s a rose 
and in the rose another river. 

See that bird! Look 
at that yellow bird! 

My eyes have disappeared 
into the water. 

Oh! 

He’s slipping! Little boy! 

. . . and I myself am in the rose. 

When he was lost in the water 
I understood. But I shan’t explain. 


In a Girl’s Ear 

I didn’t want to. 

I didn’t want to tell you a thing. 

In your eyes I saw 
two mad little trees. 

Of air, of laughter, of gold. 



go 


Canciones 


Se meneaban. 

No quise. 

No quise decirte nada. 


La luna asoma 

Cuando sale la luna 
se pierden las campanas 
y aparecen las sendas 
impenetrables. 

Cuando sale la luna, 
el mar cubre la tierra 
y el corazon se siente 
isla en el infinito. 

Nadie come naranjas 
bajo la luna llena. 

Es preciso comer, 
fruta verde y helada. 

Cuando sale la luna 
de cien rostros iguales, 
la moneda de plata 
solloza en el bolsillo. 


Murio al amanecer 

Noche de cuatro lunas 
y un solo arbol, 
con una sola sombra 
y un solo pajaro. 

Busco en mi carne las 
huellas de tus labios. 

El manantial besa al viento 
sin tocarlo. 



Songs 91 

They swayed. 

I didn’t want to. 

I didn’t want to tell you a thing. 


The Moon Appears 

When the moon rises 
bells are lost 
and impenetrable 
paths appear. 

When the moon rises, 
sea covers land 
and the heart feels like 
an island in infinity. 

No one eats oranges 
beneath a full moon. 

Ice-cold green fruit 
is right. 

When the moon rises, 
with the same hundred faces, 
silver coins 
sob in purses. 

He Died at Dawn 

Night of four moons 
and a single tree 
with a single shadow 
and a single bird. 

I search my flesh for the 
mark of your lips. 

The fountain kisses the wind 
without touching it. 



Canciones 


Llevo el No que me diste, 
en la palma de la mano, 
como un limon de cera 
casi bianco. 

Noche de cuatro lunas 
y un solo arbol. 

En la punta de una aguja, 
esta mi amor jgirando! 


Primer aniversario 

La nina va por mi frente. 
jOh, que antiguo sentimiento! 

d'De que me sirve, pregunto, 
la tinta, el papel y el verso? 

Carne tuya me parece, 
rojo brio, junco fresco. 

Morena de luna llena. 
iQue quieres de mi deseo? 


Segundo aniversario 

La luna clava en el mar 
un largo cuerno de luz. 

Unicornio gris y verde, 
estremecido pero extatico. 

El cielo flota sobre el aire 
como una inmensa flor de loto. 

(jOh, tu sola paseando 
la ultima estancia de la noche!) 



93 


Songs 

The No you told me I bear 
in the palm of my hand 
like an olf-white 
wax lemon. 

Night of four moons 
and a single tree. 

On the point of a needle 
there’s my love 
spinning! 


First Anniversary 

The girl passes across my brow. 
Ancient, ancient feeling! 

What use to me, I ask, 
are paper, verse, ink? 

To me your flesh is 
red lily, cool reed. 

Dark girl of the full moon. 
What do you want of my desire? 


Second Anniversary 

The moon nails to the sea 
a large horn of light. 

Green and grey unicorn, 
shuddering yet ecstatic. 

Sky floating on the air 
like an enormous lotus flower. 

(You alone patrolling 
the last station of night!) 



Canciones 


Lucia Martinez 

Lucia Martinez. 

Umbria de seda roja. 

Tus muslos como la tarde 
van de la luz a la sombra. 

Los azabaches reconditos 
oscurecen tus magnolias. 

Aqui estoy, Lucia Martinez. 

Vengo a consumir tu boca 
y arrastrarte del cabello 
en madrugada de conchas. 

Porque quiero, y porque puedo. 
Umbria de seda roja. 

La soltera en misa 

Bajo el moises del incienso, 
adormecida. 

Ojos de toro te miraban. 

Tu rosario llovia. 

Con ese traje de profunda seda, 
no te muevas, Virginia. 

Da los negros melones de tus pechos 
al rumor de la misa. 


Malestar y noche 

Abejaruco. 

En tus arboles oscuros. 
Noche de cielo balbuciente 
y aire tartamudo. 



Songs 


95 


Lucia Martinez 

Lucia Martinez. 

Shadow of red silk. 

Your thighs like evening 
move from light to shade. 

Hidden jet darkens 
your magnolias. 

I am here, Lucia Martinez, 
here to consume your mouth 
and drag you by the hair 
into the seashell dawn. 

Because I want to, because I can. 
Red silk shadow. 


The Spinster at Mass 

Beneath the cradle of incense, 
asleep. 

Eyes of bulls watched you. 
Your rosary rained. 

In that dress of deep silk, 
Virginia, do not move. 

Offer your dark melon breasts 
to the murmur of the Mass. 


Malaise and Night 

Bee-eater 
in your dark trees. 
Night of babbling sky 
and stuttering air. 



96 


Canciones 


Tres borrachos eternizan 
sus gestos de vino y luto. 
Los astros de plomo giran 
sobre un pie. 

Abejaruco. 

En tus arboles oscuros. 

Dolor de sien oprimida 
con guirnalda de minutos. 
i'Y tu silencio? Los tres 
borrachos can tan desnudos. 

Pespunte de seda virgen 
tu cancion. 

Abejaruco. 

Uco uco uco uco. 
Abejaruco. 


Desposorio 

Tirad ese anillo 
al agua. 

(La sombra apoya sus dedos 
sobre mi espalda.) 

Tirad ese anillo. Tengo 
mas de cien anos. j Silencio! 

jNo preguntadme nada! 

Tirad ese anillo 
al agua. 



97 


Songs 

Three drunks perpetuate 
their movements of wine and sorrow. 
Leaden astral bodies spin 
on one foot. 

Bee-eater 
in your dark trees. 

Aching temple clamped 
by a garland of minutes. 

And your silence? The three nude 
drunks sing. 

Back-stitch of pure silk, 
your song. 

Bee-eater 

Ooco, ooco, ooco, ooco. 

Bee-eater. 


Betrothal 

Throw this ring 
to the water. 

(The shade places fingers 
on my back.) 

Throw this ring. I am 
more than a hundred years old. Quiet! 

Ask me nothing! 

Throw this ring 
to the water. 



Canciones 


Despedida 

Si muero, 

dejad el balcon abierto. 

El nino come naranjas. 
(Desde mi balcon lo veo.) 

El segador siega el trigo. 
(Desde mi balcon lo siento.) 

jSi muero, 

dejad el balcon abierto! 


En el instituto y en la universidad 

La primera vez 
no te conod. 

La segunda, si. 

Dime 

si el aire te lo dice. 

Mananita fria 
yo me puse triste, 
y luego me entraron 
ganas de reirme. 

No te conod. 

Si me conociste. 

Si te conod. 

No me conociste. 

Ahora entre los dos 
se alarga impasible, 
un mes, como un 
biombo de dias grises. 



Songs 


99 


Parting 


If I die 

leave the balcony open. 

The boy eats oranges. 

(From my balcony I see him.) 

The reaper cuts the wheat. 
(From my balcony I hear him.) 

If I die, 

leave the balcony open! 


In the Institute and in the University 

The first time 
I didn’t know you. 

The second time I did. 

Tell me 

if the air tells you so. 

One sharp morning 
I grew sad 
and was seized 
by the impulse to laugh. 

I didn’t know you. 

But you knew me. 

Yes I knew you. 

You didn’t know me. 

Now a month stretches 
between us two, 
no feeling, 

like a screen of grey days. 



100 


Canciones 


La primera vez 
no te conod. 

La segunda, si. 

Madrigalillo 

Cuatro granados 
tiene tu huerto. 

(Toma mi corazon 
nuevo.) 

Cuatro cipreses 
tendra tu huerto. 

(Toma mi corazon 
viejo.) 

Sol y luna. 
Luego... 
jni corazon, 
ni huerto! 


Preludio 

Las alamedas se van, 
pero dejan su reflejo. 

Las alamedas se van, 
pero nos dejan el viento. 

El viento esta amortajado 
a lo largo bajo el cielo. 

Pero ha dejado flotando 
sobre los rios, sus ecos. 

El mundo de las luciernagas 
ha invadido mis recuerdos. 



IOI 


Songs 

The first time 
I didn’t know you. 

The second time I did. 


Light Madrigal 

Four pomegranate trees 
in your orchard. 

(Take my new 
heart.) 

There’ll be four cypress trees 
in your orchard. 

(Take my old 
heart.) 

Sun and moon. 

Then, afterwards . . . 

Neither heart 
nor orchard! 


Prelude 

The avenues of poplar go 
but leave their reflection. 

The avenues of poplar go 
but leave us the wind. 

The shrouded wind lies 
full length beneath the sky. 

But it’s left its echoes 
floating on rivers. 

The world of fireflies 
has invaded my memories. 



102 


Canciones 


Y un corazon diminuto 
me va brotando en los dedos. 

De otro modo 

La hoguera pone al campo de la tarde, 
unas astas de ciervo enfurecido. 

Todo el valle se tiende; por sus lomos, 
caracolea el vientecillo. 

El aire cristaliza bajo el humo. 

Ojo de gato triste y amarillo. 

Yo en mis ojos paseo por las ramas. 

Las ramas se pasean por el rio. 

Llegan mis cosas esenciales. 

Son estribillos de estribillos. 

Entre los juncos y la baja-tarde, 
jque raro que me llame Federico! 


Cancion de noviembre y abril 

El cielo nublado 
pone mis ojos blancos. 

Yo, para darles vida, 
les acerco una flor 
amarilla. 

No consigo turbarlos. 

Siguen yertos y blancos. 

(Entre mis hombros vuela 
mi alma dorada y plena.) 

El cielo de abril 
pone mis ojos de anil. 



103 


Songs 

And a tiny, tiny heart 
is growing from my fingers. 


Another Way 

On the evening land the bonfire lays 
the antlers of a maddened stag. 

The valley spreads out. A gambolling breeze 
skips among its folds. 

Air crystallizes under the smoke. 

— sad yellow cat’s eye — 

Inside my eyes I drift among the branches. 
The branches drift down river. 

Things vital to me appear. 

Refrains of refrains. 

Among the reeds and the falling day, 
how strange my name should be Federico! 


Song of November and April 

The cloudy sky 
blanks out my eyes. 

To restore them, I 
place a yellow flower 
next to them. 

I can’t change them. 

They remain lifeless, blank. 

(Between my shoulders 
my full and golden soul takes wing.) 

The April sky 
turns my eyes indigo. 



Canciones 


Yo, para darles alma, 
les acerco una rosa 
blanca. 

No consigo infundir 
lo bianco en el anil. 

(Entre mis hombros vuela 
mi alma impasible y ciega.) 


Cancion del naranjo seco 

A Carmen Morales 

Lenador. 

Cortame la sombra. 

Librame del suplicio 
de verme sin toronjas. 

;Por que naci entre espejosP 
El dia me da vueltas. 

Y la noche me copia 
en todas sus estrellas. 

Quiero vivir sin verme. 

Y hormigas y vilanos, 
sonare que son 

mis hojas y mis pajaros. 

Lenador. 

Cortame la sombra. 

Librame del suplicio 
de verme sin toronjas. 



io5 


Songs 

To give them a soul, I 
place a white rose 
next to them. 

I can’t make white 
blend with indigo. 

(Between my shoulders 
my blind and stony soul takes wing.) 


Song of the Dry Orange Tree 

To Carmen Morales 

Woodsman, 
chop down my shadow. 

Free me from the torture 
of not bearing fruit. 

Why was I born among mirrors? 
Around me day dances 
and night copies me 
onto her stars. 

I want to live blind to myself. 
And I’ll dream 
that ants and burrs 
are my leaves and my birds. 

Woodsman, 
chop down my shadow. 

Free me from the torture 
of not bearing fruit. 



Poemas de Romancero gitano 


Romance de la luna, luna 

A Conchita Garcia Lorca 

La luna vino a la fragua 
con su polison de nardos. 

El niflo la mira, mira. 

El niflo la esta mirando. 

En el aire conmovido 
mueve la luna sus brazos 
y ensefta, lubrica y pura, 
sus senos de duro estafto. 

— Huye luna, luna, luna. 

Si vinieran los gitanos, 
harian con tu corazon 
collares y anillos blancos. 

— Niflo, dejame que bade. 
Cuando vengan los gitanos, 
te encontraran sobre el yunque 
con los ojillos cerrados. 

— Huye luna, luna, luna, 
que ya siento sus caballos. 

— Niflo, dejame, no pises 
mi blancor almidonado. 

El jinete se acercaba 
tocando el tambor del llano. 
Dentro de la fragua el niflo 
tiene los ojos cerrados. 

Por el olivar venian, 
bronce y suefto, los gitanos. 

Las cabezas levantadas 
y los ojos entornados. 

Como canta la zumaya, 
jay, como canta en el arbol! 



From Gypsy Ballads 


Ballad of the Moon, the Moon 

To Conchita Garda Lorca 

The moon came to the forge 
wearing her bustle of bulbs. 

The boy’s looking at her, 
looking and looking. 

In the disturbed air 
the moon moves her arms, 
and lewd and pure, lifts 
her hard metallic breasts. 

Run, moon, moon, moon. 

If the gypsies come, 

they’ll make necklaces, white rings 

out of your heart. 

Child, let me dance. 

If the gypsies come 
they’ll find you on the anvil,* 
your bright eyes closed. 

Run, moon, moon, moon, 

I hear their horses now. 

Leave me, child, don’t trample 
my starched whiteness. 

The horseman came nearer 
drumming across the plain. 

Inside the forge the child’s 
eyes are tight shut. 

Through the olive-grove they came, 
gypsies, bronze and sleep. 

Heads high, 

their eyes behind their lids. 

How the barn-owl* sings, 
how it sings in the tree! 



Romancero gitano 

Por el cielo va la luna 
con un nino de la mano. 

Dentro de la fragua lloran, 
dando gritos, los gitanos. 

El aire la vela, vela. 

El aire la esta velando. 


Romance sonambulo 

A Gloria Ginery a Fernando de los Rios 

Verde que te quiero verde. 

Verde viento. Verdes ramas. 

El barco sobre la mar 
y el caballo en la montana. 

Con la sombra en la cintura, 
ella suena en su baranda, 
verde carne, pelo verde, 
con ojos de fria plata. 

Verde que te quiero verde. 

Bajo la luna gitana, 
las cosas la estan mirando 
y ella no puede mirarlas. 

* 

Verde que te quiero verde. 

Grandes estrellas de escarcha 
vienen con el pez de sombra 
que abre el camino del alba. 

La higuera frota su viento 
con la lija de sus ramas, 
y el monte, gato garduno, 
eriza sus pitas agrias. 

Pero ;quien vendra? ;Y por donde?... 
Ella sigue en su baranda, 
verde carne, pelo verde, 
sonando en la mar amarga. 



Gypsy Ballads 

The moon goes through the sky 
holding a child’s hand. 

Inside the forge the shouting 
gypsies weep. 

The air maintains its watch, 
watching, watching. 


Dreamwalker Ballad 

To Gloria Giner and Fernando de los Rios 

Green how I want you green. 

Green wind. Green branches. 

Boat on the sea 

and horse on the mountain. 

Shadow at her waist 
she dreams at her railing, 
green flesh, green hair, 
and eyes of cold silver. 

Green how I want you green. 

Beneath the gypsy moon 
things are watching her 
and she can’t watch them. 

* 

Green how I want you green. 

Great stars of frost, 
arriving with the shadow-fish 
that clears the way for dawn. 

The fig-tree sandpapers 

its wind on its branches, 

and the mountain, like a thieving cat, 

arches its back of sour agaves. 

But who will come? And from where?. 
She stays at the railing, 
green flesh, green hair, 
dreaming of the bitter sea. 



no Romancero gitano 

* 

— Compadre, quiero cambiar 
mi caballo por su casa, 
mi montura por su espejo, 
mi cuchillo por su manta. 
Compadre, vengo sangrando, 
desde los puertos de Cabra. 

— Si yo pudiera, mocito, 
este trato se cerraba. 

Pero yo ya no soy yo, 
ni mi casa es ya mi casa. 

— Compadre, quiero morir 
decentemente en mi cama. 

De acero, si puede ser, 
con las sabanas de holanda. 

;No ves la herida que tengo 
desde el pecho a la garganta? 

— Trescientas rosas morenas 
lleva tu pechera blanca. 

Tu sangre rezuma y huele 
alrededor de tu faja. 

Pero yo ya no soy yo, 
ni mi casa es ya mi casa. 

— Dejadme subir al menos 
hasta las altas barandas, 
jdejadme subir!, dejadme 
hasta las verdes barandas. 
Barandales de la luna 
por donde retumba el agua. 

* 

Ya suben los dos compadres 
hacia las altas barandas. 

Dejando un rastro de sangre. 
Dejando un rastro de lagrimas. 
Temblaban en los tejados 
farolillos de hojalata. 

Mil panderos de cristal 
herian la madrugada. 



Ill 


Gypsy Ballads 

* 

‘Friend, I wish to trade 
my horse for your house, 
my saddle for your mirror, 
my knife for your blanket. 
Friend, I come bleeding 
from the Cabra Pass.’ 

‘If I could, young man. 

I’d make you a deal. 

But I’m not me any more, 
my house is not my house.’ 
‘Friend, I want to die 
tucked up in my bed: 
a steel bed, if possible, 
with the finest linen sheets. 
Don’t you see this wound 
from my chest to my throat?’ 
‘Your white shirt sports 
three hundred dark roses. 

Your blood smells strong 
oozing all around your sash. 

But I’m not me any more, 
my house is not my house.’ 

‘At least let me climb 
to the high railing, 
let me climb, please, 
up to the green rails! 
Balustrades of the moon 
where the water roars.’ 

* 

And so the two friends climb 
up to the high balustrade. 
Leaving a trail of blood. 
Leaving a trail of tears. 

Little tin lanterns 
trembled on the tiles. 

A thousand crystal tambourines 
wounded the dawning day. 



1 12 Romancero gitano 

* 

Verde que te quiero verde, 
verde viento, verdes ramas. 

Los dos compadres subieron. 

El largo viento, dejaba 

en la boca un raro gusto 

de hiel, de menta y de albahaca. 

— jCompadre! ;D 6 nde esta, dime, 
donde, esta tu nina amarga? 

— jCuan tas veces te espero! 
jCuantas veces te esperara, 
cara fresca, negro pelo, 

en esta verde baranda! 

* 

Sobre el rostro del aljibe 
se mecia la gitana. 

Verde carne, pelo verde, 
con ojos de fria plata. 

Un carambano de luna 
la sostiene sobre el agua. 

La noche se puso intima 
como una pequena plaza. 

Guardias civiles borrachos 
en la puerta golpeaban. 

Verde que te quiero verde. 

Verde viento. Verdes ramas. 

El barco sobre la mar. 

Y el caballo en la montana. 


La monja gitana 

A Jose Moreno Villa 

Silencio de cal y mirto. 
Malvas en las hierbas finas. 
La monja borda alhelies 
sobre una tela pajiza. 
Vuelan en la arana gris 



Gypsy Ballads 113 

* 

Green how I want you green, 
green wind, green branches. 

The two friends climbed. 

The long wind left 
a strange taste in the mouth 
of gall, mint, and basil. 

‘Friend, tell me, where is she, 
where’s your bitter girl?’ 

‘The times she waited for you! 

How often she would wait, 
bright face, dark hair, 
at this green railing!’ 

* 

On the rain- well’s face 
the gypsy girl swayed. 

Green flesh, green hair, 
and eyes of cold silver. 

An icicle of moonlight 
holds her over the water. 

The night became intimate 
as a small town square. 

Drunken Civil Guards* 
beat at the door. 

Green how I want you green. 

Green wind. Green branches. 

Boat on the sea. 

And horse on the mountain. 


The Gypsy Nun 

To Jose Moreno Villa 

Silence of myrtle and lime. 
Wild mallow in fine grass. 

The nun embroiders wallflowers 
on a straw-coloured cloth. 

The seven birds of the prism flit 



Romancero gitano 

siete pajaros del prisma. 

La iglesia grune a lo lejos 

como un oso panza arriba. 

jQue bien borda! jCon que gracia! 

Sobre la tela pajiza, 

ella quisiera bordar 

flores de su fantasia. 

jQue girasol! jQue magnolia 

de lentejuelas y cintas! 

jQue azafranes y que lunas, 

en el mantel de la misa! 

Cinco toronjas se endulzan 
en la cercana cocina. 

Las cinco llagas de Cristo 
cortadas en Almeria. 

Por los ojos de la monja 
galopan dos caballistas. 

Un rumor ultimo y sordo 
le despega la camisa, 
y al mirar nubes y montes 
en las yertas lejanias, 
se quiebra su corazon 
de azucar y yerbaluisa. 
jOh, que llanura empinada 
con veinte soles arriba! 
jQue rios puestos de pie 
vislumbra su fantasia! 

Pero sigue con sus flores, 
mientras que de pie, en la brisa, 
la luz juega el ajedrez 
alto de la celosia. 



Gypsy Ballads 1 1 5 

amongst the greyness of the chandelier. 

The church growls in the distance 
like a stricken bear. 

How well she embroiders, 
such finesse! 

On the straw-yellow cloth 
she’d like to embroider 
flowers of her imagining. 

What a sunflower! What a magnolia 
of spangles and ribbons! 

Such crocuses, such moons 
on the altar cloth! 

Five grapefruit sweeten 
in the kitchen nearby. 

Five nasturtiums, 

the five wounds of Christ,* 

cut in Almeria. 

Through the eyes of the nuns 
two horsemen gallop. 

A muffled far-off sound 

lifts her petticoat, 

and looking at the clouds and hills 

in the distant wasteland, 

her sugar and verbena heart breaks. 

What an exalted plain 
with twenty suns above! 

What vertical rivers 
her fantasy glimpses! 

But she goes on with her flowers 
while in the breeze 
the tall light plays chess 
with the window blinds. 



1 1 6 


Romancero gitano 


Prendimiento de Antonito el Camborio 
en el camino de Sevilla 

A Margarita Xirgu 

Antonio Torres Heredia, 
hijo y nieto de Camborios, 
con una vara de mimbre 
va a Sevilla a ver los toros. 

Moreno de verde luna, 
anda despacio y garboso. 

Sus empavonados bucks 
le brillan entre los ojos. 

A la mitad del camino 
corto limones redondos, 
y los fue tirando al agua 
hasta que la puso de oro. 

Y a la mitad del camino, 
bajo las ramas de un olmo, 

Guardia Civil caminera 
lo llevo codo con codo. 

* 

El dia se va despacio, 
la tarde colgada a un hombro, 
dando una larga torera 
sobre el mar y los arroyos. 

Las aceitunas aguardan 
la noche de Capricornio, 
y una corta brisa ecuestre 
salta los montes de plomo. 

Antonio Torres Heredia, 
hijo y nieto de Camborios, 
viene sin vara de mimbre 
entre los cinco tricornios. 

* 

— Antonio, ;quien eres tu? 

Si te llamaras Camborio, 
hubieras hecho una fuente 



Gypsy Ballads 


Capture of Antonito el Camborio 
on the Seville Road 

To Margarita Xirgu 

Antonio Torres Heredia, 
son and grandson of Camborios, 
holding a willow-switch 
is going to Seville to see the bulls. 

Dark as a green moon 
he walks. Unhurried. With style. 

His curls’ peacock sheen 
glints between his eyes. 

Midway through his journey 

he cut some round lemons 

and threw them one by one in the water 

until it turned gold. 

And midway through his journey 
under the spread of an elm 
a patrol of Civil Guard 
grabbed him by the arm and led him off. 
* 

The day goes past slowly, 
afternoon fastened at the shoulder, 
a bullfighter’s cape 
passing over sea and rivulets. 

The olives await 
the Capricorn night, 
and a snappy breeze jumps 
the leaden hills like a horse. 

Antonio Torres Heredia, 
son and grandson of Camborios, 
walks without his willow-switch 
between the five three-cornered hats. 

* 

‘Antonio, who are you? 

Had your name been Camborio 
you’d have made a fountain 



Romancero gitano 

de sangre con cinco chorros. 
Ni tu eres hijo de nadie, 
ni legitimo Camborio. 
jSe acabaron los gitanos 
que iban por el monte solos! 
Estan los viejos cuchillos 
tiritando bajo el polvo. 

* 

A las nueve de la noche 
lo llevan al calabozo, 
mientras los guardias civiles 
beben limonada todos. 

Y a las nueve de la noche 
le cierran el calabozo, 
mientras el cielo reluce 
como la grupa de un potro. 


Muerte de Antonito el Camborio 

A Jose Antonio Rubio Sacristan 

Voces de muerte sonaron 
cerca del Guadalquivir. 

Voces antiguas que cercan 
voz de clavel varonil. 

Les clavo sobre las botas 
mordiscos de jabali. 

En la lucha daba saltos 
jabonados de delfin. 

Bano con sangre enemiga 
su corbata carmesi, 
pero eran cuatro punales 
y tuvo que sucumbir. 

Cuando las estrellas clavan 
rejones al agua gris, 
cuando los erales suenan 
veronicas de alheli, 
voces de muerte sonaron 
cerca del Guadalquivir. 



Gypsy Ballads 1 19 

of blood with five jets. 

But you’re the son of no one, 
no true Camborio. 

The gypsies have gone 

who travelled the mountain alone. 

Old knives shiver 
beneath the dust.’ 

* 

At nine in the evening 
he’s taken to a cell 
while all the Civil Guards 
drink lemonade. 

And at nine in the evening 
they lock his cell door, 
while the sky gleams 
like the flanks of a colt. 


Death of Antonito el Camborio 

To Jose Antonio Rubio Sacristan 

Voices of death sounded 
by the Guadalquivir. 

Ancient voices encircling 
a virile carnation voice. 

His boar’s teeth 

clamped themselves to their boots. 
In the fight his leaps 
were slippery as dolphins. 

He soaked his crimson tie 
in his enemy’s blood 
but there were four daggers 
and he had to succumb. 

When stars force lances 
into grey water, 
when novice bulls dream 
of passes like wallflowers, 
voices of death sounded 
by the Guadalquivir. 



120 Romancero gitano 

* 

— Antonio Torres Heredia, 
Camborio de dura crin, 
moreno de verde luna, 
voz de clavel varonil: 

;quien te ha quitado la vida 
cerca del Guadalquivir? 

— Mis cuatro primos Heredias, 
hijos de Benameji. 

Lo que en otros no envidiaban, 
ya lo envidiaban en mi. 

Zapatos color corinto, 
medallones de marfil, 
y este cutis amasado 
con aceituna y jazmin. 

— jAy Antonio el Camborio 
digno de una Emperatriz! 
Acuerdate de la Virgen 
porque te vas a morir. 

— jAy Federico Garcia, 
llama a la Guardia Civil! 

Ya mi talle se ha quebrado 
como cana de maiz. 

* 

Tres golpes de sangre tuvo, 
y se murio de perfil. 

Viva moneda que nunca 
se volvera a repetir. 

Un angel marchoso pone 
su cabeza en un cojin. 

Otros de rubor cansado, 
encendieron un candil. 

Y cuando los cuatro primos 
llegan a Benameji, 
voces de muerte cesaron 
cerca del Guadalquivir. 



1 2 1 


Gypsy Ballads 

* 

‘Antonio Torres Heredia, 
tough-haired Camborio 
dark as a green moon, 
virile carnation voice. 

Who’s taken your life away 
by the Guadalquivir?’ 

‘My four Heredia cousins, 
sons of Benameji. 

What they envied in no one 
they envied in me. 

My wine-coloured shoes, 
my ivory medallions, 
and my skin massaged 
with olive and jasmine.’ 

‘Oh, Antonio el Camborio, 
worthy of an Empress! 

Think of the Virgin 
because you’re going to die.’ 
‘Oh, Federico Garcia 
call the Civil Guard! 

My waist has snapped 
like a stalk of maize.’ 

* 

Three spurts of blood 
and he died in profile. 

A living coin which never 
will be struck again. 

A jaunty angel 
lays his head on a cushion. 
Others, weak blushes of colour, 
light a lamp. 

And when the four cousins 
reach Benameji 
voices of death went silent 
by the Guadalquivir. 



122 


Romancero gitano 


Muerto de amor 

A Margarita Manso 

— i'Que es aquello que reluce 
por los altos corredores? 

— Cierra la puerta, hijo mlo, 
acaban de dar las once. 

— En mis ojos, sin querer, 
relumbran cuatro faroles. 

— Sera que la gente aquella 
estara fregando el cobre. 

* 

Ajo de agonica plata 
la luna menguante, pone 
cabelleras amarillas 
a las amarillas torres. 

La noche llama temblando 
al cristal de los balcones 
perseguida por los mil 
perros que no la conocen, 
y un olor de vino y ambar 
viene de los corredores. 

* 

Brisas de cana mojada 
y rumor de viejas voces 
resonaban por el arco 
roto de la media noche. 

Bueyes y rosas dormian. 

Solo por los corredores 
las cuatro luces clamaban 
con el furor de San Jorge. 
Tristes mujeres del valle 
bajaban su sangre de hombre, 
tranquila de flor cortada 
y amarga de muslo joven. 

Viejas mujeres del rio 
lloraban al pie del monte. 



Gypsy Ballads 


Dead from Love 

To Margarita Manso 

‘What is that gleaming 
on the high galleries?’ 

‘My son, close the door, 
eleven has just struck.’ 

‘Four unwelcome lamps 
shine in my eyes.’ 

‘The people there must be 
scouring copperware.’ 

* 

Garlic of dying silver 
the waning moon places 
heads of yellow hair 
on the yellow towers. 

Trembling night knocks 
on the glass of the balconies 
pursued by the thousand 
dogs that don’t know her, 
and the smell of wine and amber 
comes from the galleries. 

* 

Wet-reed breezes, 
murmur of old voices 
echoed through the round arch 
of midnight. 

Oxen and roses were sleeping. 
Only four lights clamoured 
in the galleries 
raging like St George.* 

Sad women of the valley 
took down the blood of man, 
still as a cut flower 
and bitter as a young thigh. 

Old women of the river 

wept at the foot of the mountain. 



Romancero gitano 

un minuto intransitable 
de cabelleras y nombres. 
Fachadas de cal poman 
cuadrada y blanca la noche. 
Serafines y gitanos 
tocaban acordeones. 

— Madre, cuando yo me muera 
que se enteren los senores. 

Pon telegramas azules 
que vayan del Sur al Norte. 

* 

Siete gritos, siete sangres, 
siete adormideras dobles 
quebraron opacas lunas 
en los oscuros salones. 

Lleno de manos cortadas 
y coronitas de flores, 
el mar de los juramentos 
resonaba, no se donde. 

Y el cielo daba portazos 
al brusco rumor del bosque, 
mientras clamaban las luces 
en los altos corredores. 



Gypsy Ballads 

an impassable minute 
of hair and names. 

Fa£ades of lime made 
the night white and square. 
Seraphs and gypsies 
played accordions. 

‘Mother, when I die, 
let the gentlemen know. 

Send azure telegrams* 
from South to North.’ 

* 

Seven shouts, seven bloods, 
seven double poppies 
smashed opaque moons 
in the darkened rooms. 

Full of cut hands 
and coronets of flowers, 
the sea of oaths 
echoed who knows where. 

And the sky slammed its door 
on the sudden noise of the wood, 
while lights clamoured 
in the high galleries. 



Poemas de Poeta en Nueva York 


El rey de Harlem 


Con una cuchara 

arrancaba los ojos a los cocodrilos 

y golpeaba el trasero de los monos. 

Con una cuchara. 

Fuego de siempre dormla en los pedernales 
y los escarabajos borrachos de anls 
olvidaban el musgo de las aldeas. 

Aquel viejo cubierto de setas 
iba al sitio donde lloraban los negros 
mientras crujla la cuchara del rey 
y llegaban los tanques de agua podrida. 

Las rosas hulan por los filos 
de las ultimas curvas del aire, 
y en los montones de azafran 
los ninos machacaban pequenas ardillas 
con un rubor de frenesi manchado. 

Es preciso cruzar los puentes 
y llegar al rumor negro 
para que el perfume de pulmon 
nos golpee las sienes con su vestido 
de caliente pina. 

Es preciso matar al rubio vendedor de aguardiente, 
a todos los amigos de la manzana y de la arena; 
y es necesario dar con los punos cerrados 
a las pequenas judias que tiemblan llenas de burbujas, 
para que el rey de Harlem cante con su muchedumbre, 
para que los cocodrilos duerman en largas filas 
bajo el amianto de la luna, 
y para que nadie dude la infinita belleza 

de los plumeros, los ralladores, los cobres y las cacerolas de las cocinas. 



From Poet in New York 


The King of Harlem 

With a spoon 

he scooped out crocodiles’ eyes 
and whacked monkeys’ backsides. 

With a spoon. 

The fire of forever slept in the flints 
and beetles drunk on anis 
forgot the village moss. 

The old mushroom-covered man 
went to where the blacks wept 
while the king’s spoon crackled 
and tanks of putrid water arrived. 

Roses fled along the ridge 

of air’s last curves 

and on the mounds of saffron 

children squashed little squirrels 

flushing red in tainted frenzy. 

You have to cross the bridges 
and reach the black murmur 
so that the scent of lungs 
hits your temples, dressed 
in warm pineapple. 

You must kill the blond-haired brandy-seller 

and every friend of sand and apple 

and with clenched fists you must beat 

the trembling little Jewish women full of bubbles 

so the king of Harlem may sing with his throng, 

the crocodiles sleep in long rows 

beneath the moon’s asbestos, 

and no one doubt the infinite beauty 

of dusters, graters, copperware, kitchen pans. 



128 


Poeta en Nueva York 


jAy, Harlem! jAy, Harlem! jAy, Harlem! 

No hay angustia comparable a tus rojos oprimidos, 
a tu sangre estremecida dentro del eclipse oscuro, 
a tu violencia granate, sordomuda en la penumbra, 
a tu gran rey prisionero, con un traje de conserje. 

* 

Tenia la noche una hendidura y quietas salamandras de marfil. 

Las muchachas americanas 

llevaban ninos y monedas en el vientre 

y los muchachos se desmayaban en la cruz del desperezo. 

Elios son. 

Elios son los que beben el whisky de plata junto a los volcanes 
y tragan pedacitos de corazon por las heladas montanas del oso. 

* 

Aquella noche el rey de Harlem, con una durisima cuchara, 
arrancaba los ojos a los cocodrilos 
y golpeaba el trasero de los monos. 

Con una cuchara. 

Los negros lloraban confundidos 
entre paraguas y soles de oro, 

los mulatos estiraban gomas, ansiosos de llegar al torso bianco, 
y el viento empanaba espejos 
y quebraba las venas de los bailarines. 

Negros, Negros, Negros, Negros, 

la sangre no tiene puertas en vuestra noche boca arriba. 

No hay rubor. Sangre furiosa por debajo de las pieles. 

Viva en la espina del punal y en el pecho de los paisajes, 
bajo las pinzas y las retamas de la celeste luna de cancer. 

Sangre que busca por mil caminos muertes enharinadas y ceniza 
nardo, 

cielos yertos, en declive, donde las colonias de planetas 
rueden por las playas con los objetos abandonados. 



Poet in New York 


129 


Ay Harlem, Harlem, Harlem! 

There’s no anguish like your oppressed reds, 
or the shudder of your blood within the dark eclipse, 
or your garnet violence, deaf and dumb in the shadows, 
or your great king held captive in a commissioner’s coat. 

* 

The night was rent, and there were silent ivory salamanders. 
American girls 

carried children and coins in their bellies 
and boys fainted racked on the cross. 

They. 

They who drink silver whisky by volcanoes 

and swallow little pieces of heart on the frozen mountains of the bear. 

* 

That night the king of Harlem with an indestructible spoon 
scooped out crocodiles’ eyes 
and whacked monkeys’ backsides. 

With a spoon. 

Blacks wept confounded 

among golden suns and umbrellas, 

mulattos stretched rubber, keen to get to white torsos, 

and the wind clouded mirrors 

and broke the dancers’ veins. 

Blacks, blacks, blacks, blacks. 

Blood has no doors in your night on its back. 

No flush. Bad blood beneath the skin, 

alert in the dagger’s thorn and the landscapes’ heart, 

under the pincers and the Spanish broom of Cancer’s celestial moon. 

Blood searching a thousand highways for flour-sprinkled deaths, 
spikenard ash, 

rigid angled skies where colonies of planets 
can roll along beaches with the jetsam. 



130 


Poeta en Nueva York 


Sangre que mira lenta con el rabo del ojo, 

hecha de espartos exprimidos, nectares de subterraneos. 

Sangre que oxida al alisio descuidado en una huella 
y disuelve a las mariposas en los cristales de la ventana. 

Es la sangre que viene, que vendra 

por los tejados y azoteas, por todas partes, 

para quemar la clorofilia de las mujeres rubias, 

para gemir al pie de las camas, ante el insomnio de los lavabos, 

y estrellarse en una aurora de tabaco y bajo amarillo. 

jHay que huir!, 

huir por las esquinas y encerrarse en los ultimos pisos, 
porque el tuetano del bosque penetrara por las rendijas 
para dejar en vuestra carne una leve huella de eclipse 
y una falsa tristeza de guante destenido y rosa quimica. 

* 

Es por el silencio sapientisimo 

cuando los camareros y los cocineros y los que limpian con la lengua 
las heridas de los millonarios 

buscan al rey por las calles o en los angulos del salitre. 

Un viento sur de madera, oblicuo en el negro fango, 
escupe a las barcas rotas y se clava puntillas en los hombros. 

Un viento sur que lleva 

colmillos, girasoles, alfabetos 

y una pila de Volta con avispas ahogadas. 

El olvido estaba expresado por tres gotas de tinta sobre el monoculo. 
El amor, por un solo rostro invisible a flor de piedra. 

Medulas y corolas componian sobre las nubes 
un desierto de tallos, sin una sola rosa. 

* 

A la izquierda, a la derecha, por el Sur y por el Norte, 
se levanta el muro impasible 
para el topo y la aguja del agua. 

No busqueis, negros, su grieta 



Poet in New York 


131 

Blood looking askance, slow, 

made of dried esparto, underground nectars. 

Blood that oxidizes the careless trade wind in a footprint, 
and dissolves butterflies on window-panes. 

It’s the blood that comes, that will come 

over roofs and terraces, from everywhere, 

to burn the chlorophyll of fair-haired women, 

to moan at the foot of beds before the insomnia of basins 

and smash against a yellow-bile tobacco dawn. 

Flee, 

you must flee round corners, lock yourself on top floors, 
because the pith of the forest will come through cracks 
to leave on your flesh the faint trace of an eclipse 
and the false sadness of discoloured glove and chemical rose. 

* 

It’s in this wisest silence 

that waiters, cooks, and tongues that clean 

the wounds of millionaires 

search the streets and saltpetre corners for the king. 

A south wind of wood, slanting through black mud, 

spits at broken boats, drives nails in its shoulders, 

a south wind that carries 

alphabets, sunflowers, tusks 

and a battery with drowned wasps. 

Oblivion was expressed in three drops of ink on the monocle. 

Love, in one invisible face on the surface of the stone. 

Marrow and corollas on the clouds formed 
a desert of stalks without a single rose. 

* 

To the left, to the right, south and north, 
the wall rises impervious 
to mole or spike of water. 

Don’t search, blacks, for a breach 



132 


Poeta en Nueva York 


para hallar la mascara infinita. 

Buscar el gran sol del centra 
hechos una pina zumbadora. 

El sol que se desliza por los bosques 
seguro de no encontrar una ninfa. 

El sol que destruye numeros y no ha cruzado nunca un sueno, 
el tatuado sol que baja por el rlo 
y muge seguido de caimanes. 

Negros, Negros, Negros, Negros, 

Jamas sierpe ni cebra ni mula 
palidecieron al morir. 

El lenador no sabe cuando expiran 
los clamorosos arboles que corta. 

Aguardad bajo la sombra vegetal de vuestro rey 
a que cicutas y cardos y ortigas turben postreras azoteas. 

Entonces, negros, entonces, entonces, 
podreis besar con frenesl las ruedas de las bicicletas, 
poner parejas de microscopios en las cuevas de las ardillas 
y danzar al fin sin duda, mientras las floras erizadas 
asesinan a nuestro Moises casi en los juncos del cielo. 

jAy, Harlem disfrazada! 

jAy, Harlem, amenazada por un gentio de trajes sin cabeza! 
Me llega tu rumor, 

me llega tu rumor atravesando troncos y ascensores, 
a traves de laminas grises, 

donde flotan tus automoviles cubiertos de dientes, 
a traves de los caballos muertos y los crimenes diminutos, 
a traves de tu gran rey desesperado, 
cuyas barbas llegan al mar. 


Crucifixion 

La luna pudo detenerse al fin por la curva blanquisima de los 
caballos 

Un rayo de luz violenta que se escapaba de la herida 

proyecto en el cielo el instante de la circuncision de un nino muerto. 



Poet in New York 


133 


where you might find the infinite mask. 

Turn into a buzzing pineapple, 
seek the great central sun. 

The sun that glides through the woods 

certain it won’t meet a nymph, 

the sun that kills numbers, that’s never met a dream, 

tattooed sun, moving downriver, bellowing, 

with alligators in pursuit. 

Blacks, blacks, blacks, blacks. 

Never did snake, zebra, mule 
grow pale at death. 

The woodcutter doesn’t know when 
the clamouring trees he cuts expire. 

Wait in the leafy shadow of your king 

until hemlock and thistle and nettles disturb the furthest terrace roots. 
Then blacks, then, then 

you can plant frenzied kisses on bicycle wheels, 

put pairs of microscopes in squirrels’ nests, 

and dance at last with confidence, while bristling flowers 

mow down our Moses close to the reeds of heaven. 

Ay, Harlem in disguise! 

Ay Harlem, threatened by a gang of headless costumes! 

Your murmur reaches me 
through tree-trunks and lifts, 
through sheets of grey metal 
where your cars float bristling with teeth, 
through dead horses and petty crimes, 
through your great despairing king 
whose beard reaches the sea. 

Crucifixion 

In the end the moon could stay on the horses’ blinding white 
curve. 

A ray of violent light escaping from the wound 

shot the instant of a dead boy’s circumcision into the sky. 



134 


Poeta en Nueva York 


La sangre bajaba por el monte y los angeles la buscaban, 
pero los calices eran de viento y al fin llenaba los zapatos. 

Cojos perros fumaban sus pipas y un olor de cuero caliente 
ponia grises los labios redondos de los que vomitaban en las 
esquinas. 

Y llegaban largos alaridos por el Sur de la noche seca. 

Era que la luna quemaba con sus bujias el falo de los caballos. 
Un sastre especialista en purpura 
habia encerrado a las tres santas mujeres 
y les ensenaba una calavera por vidrios de la ventana. 

Los ninos en el arrabal rodeaban a un camello bianco 
que lloraba asustado porque al alba 
tenia que pasar sin remedio por el ojo de una aguja. 
jOh cruz! jOh clavos! jOh espina! 

jOh espina clavada en el hueso hasta que se oxiden los planetas! 
Como nadie volvia la cabeza, el cielo pudo desnudarse. 
Entonces se oyo la gran voz y los fariseos dijeron: 

«Esa maldita vaca tiene las tetas llenas de leche.» 

La muchedumbre cerraba las puertas 
y la lluvia bajaba por las calles decidida a mojar el corazon 
mientras la tarde se puso turbia de latidos y lenadores 
y la oscura ciudad agonizaba bajo el martillo de los carpinteros. 
«Esa maldita vaca 

tiene las tetas llenas de perdigones», 
dijeron los fariseos. 

Pero la sangre mojo sus pies y los espiritus inmundos 
estrellaban ampollas de laguna sobre las paredes del templo. 

Se supo el momento preciso de la salvacion de nuestra vida. 
Porque la luna lavo con agua 
las quemaduras de los caballos 
y no la primera vida que callaron en la arena. 

Entonces salieron los frios cantando sus canciones 
y las ranas encendieron sus lumbres en la doble orilla del rio. 
«Esa maldita vaca, maldita, maldita, maldita, 
no nos dejara dormir», dijeron los fariseos, 
y se alejaron a sus casas por el tumulto de la calle 
dando empujones a los borrachos y escupiendo la sal de los 
sacrificios 

mientras la sangre los seguia con un balido de cordero. 



Poet in New York 


135 


Blood flowed down the mountain and the angels searched it out, 
but the chalices were wind and eventually filled the shoes. 

Lame dogs smoked pipes and the smell of hot leather 
turned the fat lips of people vomiting in corners grey. 

And long shrieks came from the South of dry night — 
the moon’s candles were burning the horses’ phalluses. 

A tailor who specialized in purple 

had shut three saintly ladies in 

and was showing them a skull through his window. 

At the edge of the town, kids surrounded a white camel 
weeping because at dawn it would have 
to pass through the eye of a needle. 

O cross! Nails! Thorn! 

Thorn driven into bone until planets rust! 

As no one was spying the sky could undress. 

Then the huge voice was heard and the Pharisees said: 

‘This wretched cow’s teats are bursting with milk.’ 

The crowd closed its doors 

and the rain poured down the streets bent on soaking hearts 
while evening turned cloudy with beats and woodcutters 
and the dark city lay dying under the carpenters’ hammers. 

‘The teats of this wretched cow 
are stuffed with bird-shot’ 
said the Pharisees. 

But blood soaked their feet and filthy spirits 
spangled lake-bubbles over the temple walls. 

The precise moment of saving our life became known. 

Because the moon washed with water 
the horses’ burns, 

not the first life they silenced in the sand. 

Then cold emerged singing its various songs 
and frogs lit their lamps on the river’s double banks. 

‘This wretched cow, three times cursed, 
won’t let us sleep’, said the Pharisees, 
and they left for home through turbulent streets, 
jostling drunks and spitting the salt of sacrifice, 
while blood followed them bleating like a lamb. 



136 Poeta en NuevaYork 

Fue entonces 

y la tierra desperto arrojando temblorosos rios de polilla. 


Grito hacia Roma 

(Desde la tone del Chrysler Building) 

Manzanas levemente heridas 

por finos espadines de plata, 

nubes rasgadas por una mano de coral 

que lleva en el dorso una almendra de fuego, 

peces de arsenico como tiburones, 

tiburones como gotas de llanto para cegar una multitud, 

rosas que hieren 

y agujas instaladas en los canos de la sangre, 

mundos enemigos y amores cubiertos de gusanos 

caeran sobre ti. Caeran sobre la gran cupula 

que unta de aceite las lenguas militares, 

donde un hombre se orina en una deslumbrante paloma 

y escupe carbon machacado 

rodeado de miles de campanillas. 

Porque ya no hay quien reparta el pan y el vino, 
ni quien cultive hierbas en la boca del muerto, 
ni quien abra los linos del reposo, 
ni quien llore por las heridas de los elefantes. 

No hay mas que un millon de herreros 
forjando cadenas para los ninos que han de venir. 

No hay mas que un millon de carpinteros 
que hacen ataudes sin cruz. 

No hay mas que un gentio de lamentos 
que se abren las ropas en espera de la bala. 

El hombre que desprecia la paloma debia hablar, 
debia gritar desnudo entre las columnas 
y ponerse una inyeccion para adquirir la lepra 
y llorar un llanto tan terrible 

que disolviera sus anillos y sus telefonos de diamante. 
Pero el hombre vestido de bianco 
ignora el misterio de la espiga. 



Poet in New York 


137 


That was then, 

and the world awoke launching tremulous rivers of moths. 


Cry to Rome 

(From the Tower of the Chrysler Building ) 

Apples with flesh-wounds 

made by slender silver swords, 

clouds slashed by a coral hand, 

a fire-filled almond on its back, 

arsenic fish like sharks, 

sharks like tear-drops to blind a multitude, 

roses that wound 

and needles lodged in the blood’s tubes, 
enemy worlds and worm-covered loves 
will fall on you. On the great dome 
that anoints military tongues with olive oil 
where a man pisses on a luminous dove 
and spits crushed coal 
ringed by a thousand little bells. 

Because now there’s no one to share the bread and wine, 
or grow grass in the dead man’s mouth, 
or unfold the linen of repose, 
or to grieve over elephant wounds. 

Just a million blacksmiths 

forging chains for children yet unborn. 

Just a million carpenters 
making coffins without crosses. 

Just a throng of lamentations 

opening their clothes, awaiting the bullet. 

The man who despises the dove should have spoken, 

yelled, naked among columns, 

injected himself with leprosy, 

and set up a wail so dreadful 

it dissolved his rings and diamond telephones. 

But the man dressed in white* 
knows nothing of the mystery of corn, 



Poeta en Nueva York 


138 

ignora el gemido de la parturienta, 
ignora que Cristo puede dar agua todavla, 
ignora que la moneda quema el beso de prodigio 
y da la sangre del cordero al pico idiota del faisan. 

Los maestros ensenan a los nifios 
una luz maravillosa que viene del monte; 
pero lo que llega es una reunion de cloacas 
donde gritan las oscuras ninfas del colera. 

Los maestros senalan con devocion las enormes cupulas sahumadas; 
pero debajo de las estatuas no hay amor, 
no hay amor bajo los ojos de cristal defmitivo. 

El amor esta en las carnes desgarradas por la sed, 
en la choza diminuta que lucha con la inundacion; 
el amor esta en los fosos donde luchan las sierpes del hambre, 
en el triste mar que mece los cadaveres de las gaviotas 
y en el oscurisimo beso punzante debajo de las almohadas. 

Pero el viejo de las manos traslucidas 

dira: amor, amor, amor, 

aclamado por millones de moribundos; 

dira: amor, amor, amor, 

entre el tisu estremecido de ternura; 

dira: paz, paz, paz, 

entre el tirite de cuchillos y melones de dinamita; 

dira: amor, amor, amor, 

hasta que se le pongan de plata los labios. 

Mientras tanto, mientras tanto, jay!, mientras tanto, 
los negros que sacan las escupideras, 

los muchachos que tiemblan bajo el terror palido de los directores, 

las mujeres ahogadas en aceites minerales, 

la muchedumbre de martillo, de violin o de nube, 

ha de gritar aunque le estrellen los sesos en el muro, 

ha de gritar frente a las cupulas, 

ha de gritar loca de fuego, 

ha de gritar loca de nieve, 

ha de gritar con la cabeza llena de excremento, 



Poet in New York 


139 


knows nothing of the cries of a woman in labour, 
doesn’t know that Christ can still give water, 
doesn’t know that money burns the prodigy’s kiss 
and gives lamb’s blood to the pheasant’s idiot beak. 

The teachers show the children 
a marvellous light coming from the mountain; 
but what arrives is a union of sewers 
where the dark nymphs of cholera scream. 

Devoutly the teachers point out huge fumigated domes; 
but beneath the statues there’s no love, 
no love beneath the eyes set in crystal. 

Love is there, in flesh ripped by thirst, 

in the tiny hut struggling against the flood; 

love is there, in ditches where snakes of hunger wrestle, 

in the sad sea that rocks dead gulls, 

and in the darkest stinging kiss under pillows. 

But the old man with the luminous hands 

will say: love, love, love, 

cheered on by millions of the dying; 

will say: love, love, love, 

in the shimmering tissue of tenderness: 

will say: peace, peace, peace, 

among shivering knives and melons of dynamite; 

will say: love, love, love, 

until his lips turn to silver. 

Meanwhile and meanwhile and meanwhile, 

blacks collecting up the spittoons, 

boys trembling beneath directors’ bloodless ferocity, 

women drowned in mineral oils, 

crowd with hammer, violin or cloud 

must yell even if their brains splatter on the wall, 

yell before the domes, 

yell maddened by fire, 

yell maddened by snow, 

yell with heads full of excrement, 



140 


Poeta en Nueva York 


ha de gritar como todas las noches juntas, 
ha de gritar con voz tan desgarrada 
hasta que las ciudades tiemblen como ninas 
y rompan las prisiones del aceite y la musica. 

Porque queremos el pan nuestro de cada dia, 
flor de aliso y perenne ternura desgranada, 
porque queremos que se cumpla la voluntad de la Tierra 
que da sus frutos para todos. 


Son de negros en Cuba 

Cuando llegue la luna llena ire a Santiago de Cuba, 

ire a Santiago 

en un coche de agua negra. 

Ire a Santiago. 

Cantaran los techos de palmera. 

Ire a Santiago. 

Cuando la palma quiere ser cigiiena, 
ire a Santiago. 

Y cuando quiere ser medusa el platano, 
ire a Santiago. 

Ire a Santiago 

con la rubia cabeza de Fonseca. 

Ire a Santiago. 

Y con el rosa de Romeo y Julieta 
ire a Santiago. 

Mar de papel y plata de moneda. 

Ire a Santiago. 

jOh Cuba! jOh ritmo de semillas secas! 

Ire a Santiago. 

jOh cintura caliente y gota de madera! 

Ire a Santiago. 

Arpa de troncos vivos. Caiman. Flor de tabaco. 

Ire a Santiago. 

Siempre he dicho que yo iria a Santiago 
en un coche de agua negra. 

Ire a Santiago. 

Brisa y alcohol en las ruedas, 



Poet in New York 


141 

yell like every night in one, 

yell with a voice torn terribly 

until cities tremble like girls 

and burst the prisons of oil and music, 

because we want our daily bread, 

alder-flower and everlasting harvest of tenderness, 

because we want Earth’s will be done, 

the Earth that gives her fruit to all. 


Blacks in Cuba, Their Son 

As soon as there’s a full moon, I’ll go to Santiago, Cuba, 

I’ll go to Santiago 

in a coach of black water. 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

Palm roofs will sing. 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

When the palm tree wants to be a stork, 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

And when the banana tree wants to be a jellyfish, 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

I’ll go to Santiago 
with Fonseca’s fair head. 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

And with Romeo and Juliet’s* rose 
I’ll go to Santiago. 

Paper sea, silver coins. 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

0 Cuba, rhythm of dried seeds! 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

Torrid waist, drop of wood! 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

Harp of living trunks, alligator, tobacco flower! 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

1 always said I’d go to Santiago 
in a coach of black water. 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

Breeze and alcohol in the wheels, 



I 4 2 


Poeta en Nueva York 


ire a Santiago. 

Mi coral en la tiniebla, 
ire a Santiago. 

El mar ahogado en la arena, 
ire a Santiago. 

Calor bianco, fruta muerta, 
ire a Santiago. 

jOh bovino frescor de Canaveral 

jOh Cuba! jOh curva de suspiro y barro! 

Ire a Santiago. 



Poet in New York 


M3 


I’ll go to Santiago. 

My coral in the darkness, 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

Sea buried in sand. 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

White heat, dead fruit, 

I’ll go to Santiago. 

Bovine freshness of sugar cane! 
O Cuba! Curve of sigh and clay! 
I’ll go to Santiago. 



Poema de Tierra y Luna 


Pequeno poema infinito 

Para Luis Cardoza y Aragon 


Equivocar el camino 
es llegar a la nieve 
y llegar a la nieve 

es pacer durante varios siglos las hierbas de los cementerios. 

Equivocar el camino 

es llegar a la mujer, 

la mujer que no teme la luz, 

la mujer que mata dos gallos en un segundo, 

la luz que no teme a los gallos 

y los gallos que no saben cantar sobre la nieve. 

Pero si la nieve se equivoca de corazon 

puede llegar el viento Austro, 

y como el aire no hace caso de los gemidos, 

tendremos que pacer otra vez las hierbas de los cementerios. 

Yo vi dos dolorosas espigas de cera 
que enterraban un paisaje de volcanes 
y vi dos ninos locos 

que empujaban llorando las pupilas de un asesino. 

Pero el dos no ha sido nunca un numero 

porque es una angustia y su sombra, 

porque es la demostracion del otro infinito que no es suyo 

y es las murallas del muerto 

y el castigo de la nueva resurreccion sin finales. 

Los muertos odian el numero dos, 

pero el numero dos adormece a las mujeres, 

y como la mujer teme la luz, 

la luz tiembla delante de los gallos 

y los gallos solo saben volar sobre la nieve, 

tendremos que pacer sin descanso las hierbas de los cementerios. 



From Earth and Moon 


Little Infinite Poem 

For Luis Cardoza y Aragon 

To take the wrong road 
is to arrive at snow 
and arriving at snow 

is to graze for centuries on graveyard weeds. 

To take the wrong road 

is to arrive at woman, 

woman fearless of light, 

woman who kills two cockerels in a flash, 

light which doesn’t fear cockerels 

and cockerels that can’t crow on snow. 

But if snow gets the wrong heart 

the South Wind may come, 

and since air pays moans no heed, 

we’ll have to graze on graveyard weeds again. 

I saw two sorrowing wax spikes of wheat 
burying a volcanic landscape, 
and two mad weeping children 
pushing a murderer’s eyeballs. 

But two has never been a number; 
it is anguish and its shadow, 
the demonstration of another’s infinity, 
the dead man’s ramparts 

and the punishment of new and endless resurrection. 

Dead men hate the number two, 

but that number lulls women to sleep, 

and as woman fears light, 

and light trembles before cockerels, 

and cockerels can only fly above the snow, 

we’ll have to graze for good on graveyard weeds. 



Poemas de Divan del Tamarit 


Gacela IX 

Del amor maravilloso 

Con todo el yeso 

de los malos campos, 

eras junco de amor, jazmin mojado. 

Con sur y llama 

de los malos cielos, 

eras rumor de nieve por mi pecho. 

Cielos y campos 

anudaban cadenas en mis manos. 
Campos y cielos 

azotaban las llagas de mi cuerpo. 


Casida V 

Del sueno al aire libre 

Flor de jazmin y toro degollado. 

Pavimento infinito. Mapa. Sala. Arpa. Alba. 

La nina suena un toro de jazmines 
y el toro es un sangriento crepusculo que brama. 

Si el cielo fuera un nino pequenito, 
los jazmines tendrian mitad de noche oscura, 
y el toro circo azul sin lidiadores, 
y un corazon al pie de una columna. 

Pero el cielo es un elefante, 
el jazmin es un agua sin sangre, 
y la nina es un ramo nocturno 
por el inmenso pavimento oscuro. 



From The T am arit Divan 


Ghazal IX 
Of Marvellous Love 

With all the gypsum 
of the badlands, 

you were reed of love, moist jasmine. 

With south and fire 
of the bad skies, 

you were murmur of snow in my breast. 

Skies and fields 

knotted chains in my hands. 

Fields and skies 

scourged the wounds in my flesh. 


Qasida V 

Of the Open-Air Dream 

Jasmine bloom and butchered bull. 

Endless paving. Map. Room. Harp. Dawn. 

The girl feigns a jasmine bull 

and the bull’s a bleeding sunset, bellowing. 

If the sky were a tiny child, 
half the jasmines’ night would be darkness, 
the bull a blue arena without matadors, 
and a heart at the foot of a column. 

But the sky’s an elephant, 
and jasmine bloodless water. 

The girl’s a bough by night 
on the huge dark paving. 



148 


Divan del Tamarit 


Entre el jazmin y el toro 
o garfios de marfil o gente dormida. 
En el jazmm un elefante y nubes 
y en el toro el esqueleto de la nina. 


Casida YIII 

De la muchacha dorada 

La muchacha dorada 
se banaba en el agua 
y el agua se doraba. 

Las algas y las ramas 
en sombra la asombraban, 
y el ruisenor cantaba 
por la muchacha blanca. 

Vino la noche clara, 
turbia de plata mala, 
con peladas montanas 
bajo la brisa parda. 

La muchacha mojada 
era blanca en el agua 
y el agua, llamarada. 

Vino el alba sin mancha, 
con cien caras de vaca, 
yerta y amortajada 
con heladas guirnaldas. 

La muchacha de lagrimas 
se banaba entre llamas, 
y el ruisenor lloraba 
con las alas quemadas. 

La muchacha dorada 
era una blanca garza 
y el agua la doraba. 



The Tamarit Divan 


149 


Between the bull and the jasmine 
either marble claws or people sleeping. 
In the jasmine, an elephant and clouds 
and in the bull the girl’s skeleton. 


Qasida VIII 
Of the Golden Girl 

The golden girl 
bathed in the water 
and the water turned gold. 

Algae and branches 
darkened her with shadows, 
and the nightingale sang 
for the white girl. 

The clear night came 
clouded with bad silver, 
bringing bald mountains 
under the cloudy breeze. 

The drenched girl 
was white in the water 
and the water a splash. 

The spotless dawn arrived, 
with its faces of a thousand cows, 
rigid and laid out 
with frozen garlands. 

The girl of tears 
bathed among flames 
and the nightingale wept, 
wings burnt. 

The golden girl 

was a white heron, 

and the water made it gold. 



Divan del Tamarit 


150 


Gacela del mercado matutino 

Por el arco de Elvira 
quiero verte pasar, 
para saber tu nomine 
y ponerme a llorar. 

(jQue luna gris de las nueve 
te desangro la mejilla? 
iQuien recoge tu semilla 
de llamarada en la nieve? 

,;Que alfiler de cactus breve 
asesina tu cristal? . . . 

Por el arco de Elvira 
voy a verte pasar, 
para beber tus ojos 
y ponerme a llorar. 

,;Que voz para mi castigo 
levantas por el mercado! 

,;Que clavel enajenado 
en los montones de trigo! 
jQue lejos estoy contigo, 
que cerca cuando te vas! 

Por el arco de Elvira 
voy a verte pasar, 
para sentir tus muslos 
y ponerme a llorar. 



The Tamarit Divan 


Ghazal of the Morning Marketplace 

Through Elvira s Arch* 

I want to see you pass, 
find out your name 
and start to cry. 

What grey nine o’clock moon 
drained your cheek of blood? 

Who gathers up your seed, 
sudden splash on the snow? 

What needle of brief cactus 
assassinates your crystal? . . . 

Through Elvira ’s Arch 
I’m going to see you pass, 
drink your eyes 
and start to cry. 

Your voice raised to punish me 
in the marketplace! 

The carnation exiled 
in the wheat-piles! 

How distant, you and I together, 
how close when you depart! 

Through Elvira ’s Arch 
I’m going to see you pass, 
know your thighs 
and start to cry. 



Poemas de Seis Poemas Galegos 


Romaxe de Nosa Senora da Barca 

/Ay ruada, ruada, ruada 
da Virxe pequena 
e a sua barca! 

A Virxe era de pedra 
e a sua coroa de prata. 

Marelos os catro bois 
que no seu carro a levaban. 

Pombas de vidro traguian 
a choiva pol-a montana. 

Mortos e mortas de neboa 
pol-os sendeiros chegaban. 

jVirxe, deixa a tua carina 
nos doces olios das vacas 
e leva sobr’o teu manto 
as froles da amortallada! 

Pol-a testa de Galicia 
xa ven salaiando a i-alba. 

A Virxe mira pr’o mar 
dend’a porta da sua casa. 

•/Ay ruada, ruada, ruada 
da Virxe pequena 
e a sua barca! 


Canzon de cuna pra Rosalia Castro, morta 

/ Erguete , mina amiga, 
que xa cant an os ga/os do dia! 

/■Erguete, mina amada, 

porque o vento muxe coma unha vaca! 



From Six Galician Poems 


Romance of Our Lady of the Boat 

Pilgrimage, pilgrimage! 

Pilgrimage to the little Virgin 
and her boat! 

The Virgin was stone, 
her crown silver. 

Four ochre oxen 
carrying her in their cart. 

Crystal doves brought rain 
over the mountain. 

Misty dead arrived, 
came down the paths. 

Virgin, leave your sweet face 
in the cows’ soft eyes, 
and wear on your robe 
the flowers of death’s shroud! 

Here’s shivering dawn, 
rounding the tip of Galicia. 

From her doorway 

the Virgin looks to the sea. 

Pilgrimage, pilgrimage! 

Pilgrimage to the little Virgin 
and her boat! 


Cradle Song for Rosalia Castro, Dead 

Rise, sweet friend, 
cockerels sing the dawn! 

Rise, sweet love, 

the wind lows like a cow! 



154 Seis Poemas Galegos 

Os arados van e ven 
dende Santiago a Belen. 

Dende Belen a Santiago 
un anxo ven en un barco. 

Un barco de prata fina 
que trai a door de Galicia. 

Galicia deitada e queda, 
transida de tristes herbas. 

Herbas que cobren teu leito 
e a negra fonte dos teus cabelos. 

Cabelos que van 6 mar 

onde as nubens teflen seu nidio pombal. 

jErguete, mina amiga, 

que x a cantan os galos do dial 

jErguete, mina amada, 

porque o vento muxe como unha vaca! 



Six Galician Poems 


The ploughs go back and forth 
from Santiago* to Bethlehem. 
From Santiago to Bethlehem 
an angel comes in a boat. 

A boat of fine silver 
bearing Galicia’s grief. 

Silent Galicia stretched out, 

worn with sad weeds, 

weeds that cover your bed, 

and the dark fountain of your hair. 

Hair that goes to the sea 

with its bright dovecote of clouds. 

Rise, sweet friend, 
cockerels sing the dawn! 

Rise, sweet love, 

the wind lows like a cow! 



Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

A mi querida amiga Encarnacidn Lopez Jidvez 


i . La cogida y la muerte 

A las cinco de la tarde. 

Eran las cinco en punto de la tarde. 
Un nino trajo la blanca sabana 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Una espuerta de cal ya prevenida 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Lo demas era muerte y solo muerte 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

El viento se llevo los algodones 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Y el oxido sembro cristal y niquel 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Ya luchan la paloma y el leopardo 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Y un muslo con un asta desolada 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Comenzaron los sones de bordon 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Las campanas de arsenico y el humo 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

En las esquinas grupos de silencio 
a las cinco de la tarde. 
jY el toro solo corazon arriba! 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Cuando el sudor de nieve file llegando 

a las cinco de la tarde, 

cuando la plaza se cubrio de yodo 

a las cinco de la tarde, 

la muerte puso huevos en la herida 

a las cinco de la tarde. 



Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

To my dear friend Encarnacion Lopez fiilvez 


i . Goring and Death 

At five in the afternoon. 

Five on the dot after noon. 

A boy fetched the white sheet 
at five in the afternoon. 

A basket of lime waiting 
at five in the afternoon. 

After that death and only death 
at five in the afternoon. 

The wind blew cotton scraps 
at five in the afternoon. 

And oxide sowed crystal and nickel 
at five in the afternoon. 

Dove and leopard battle 
at five in the afternoon. 

A thigh with a desolate horn 
at five in the afternoon. 

The bass drone began 
at five in the afternoon. 

Arsenic bells and smoke 
at five in the afternoon. 

On corners groups of silence 
at five in the afternoon. 

And the bull alone elated* 
at five in the afternoon. 

When sweats of snow began 
at five in the afternoon. 

And iodine covered the ring 
at five in the afternoon. 

Death laid its eggs in the wound 
at five in the afternoon. 



Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

A las cinco de la tarde. 

A las cinco en punto de la tarde. 

Un ataiitl con ruedas es la cama 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Huesos y flautas suenan en su oldo 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

El toro ya mugla por su frente 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

El cuarto se irisaba de agonla 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

A lo lejos ya viene la gangrena 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Trompa de lirio por las verdes ingles 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

Las heridas quemaban como soles 
a las cinco de la tarde, 
y el gentio rompia las ventanas 
a las cinco de la tarde. 

A las cinco de la tarde. 
jAy que terribles cinco de la tarde! 
jEran las cinco en todos los relojes! 
jEran las cinco en sombra de la tarde! 


2. La sangre derramada 

jQue no quiero verla! 

Dile a la luna que venga, 
que no quiero ver la sangre 
de Ignacio sobre la arena. 

jQue no quiero verla! 

La luna de par en par, 
caballo de nubes quietas, 
y la plaza gris del sueno 
con sauces en las barreras. 



Lamen t for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

At five in the afternoon. 

At five on the dot after noon. 

A coffin on wheels is the bed 
at five in the afternoon. 

Bones and flutes sound in his ear 
at five in the afternoon. 

In his face the bull’s bellowing 
at five in the afternoon. 

The rainbow of death entered the room 
at five in the afternoon. 

Far off", gangrene on its way 
at five in the afternoon. 

Lily-trumpet in the green groin 
at five in the afternoon. 

The wounds burned like suns 

at five in the afternoon , 

and the crowd smashed the windows 

at five in the afternoon. 

At five in the afternoon. 

Terrible five after noon! 

Every clock pointing to five! 

Five after noon in the shade! 


2. Spilled Blood 

I will not see it! 

Tell the moon to come, 

I will not see the blood 
of Ignacio on the sand. 

I will not see it! 

The moon wide-open. 

A horse of quiet clouds 
And dream’s grey bull-ring 
edged all round with willows. 



Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

jQue no quiero verla! 

Que mi recuerdo se quema. 
jAvisad a los jazmines 
con su blancura pequena! 

jQue no quiero verla! 

La vaca del viejo mundo 
pasaba su triste lengua 
sobre un hocico de sangres 
derramadas en la arena, 
y los toros de Guisando, 
casi muerte y casi piedra, 
mugieron como dos siglos 
hartos de pisar la tierra. 

No. 

jQue no quiero verla! 

Por las gradas sube Ignacio 
con toda su muerte a cuestas. 
Buscaba el amanecer, 
y el amanecer no era. 

Busca su perfil seguro, 
y el sueno lo desorienta. 

Buscaba su hermoso cuerpo 
y encontro su sangre abierta. 
jNo me digais que la vea! 

No quiero sentir el chorro 
cada vez con menos fuerza; 
ese chorro que ilumina 
los tendidos y se vuelca 
sobre la pana y el cuero 
de muchedumbre sedienta. 
iQuien me grita que me asome? 
jNo me digais que la vea! 

No se cerraron sus ojos 
cuando vio los cuernos cerca, 
pero las madres terribles 



Lamen t for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

I will not see it! 

Remembrance burns. 

Call the jasmine 

with their little whiteness! 

I will not see it! 

The cow of the ancient world 
passed her sad tongue 
over a snout of blood 
spilled on sand, 
and the bulls of Guisando,* 
death almost, stone almost, 
bellowed like two centuries 
tired of treading earth. 

No. 

I will not see it! 

Ignacio climbs the steps, 
his whole death on his back. 

He looked for dawn 
and dawn was finished. 

He seeks his firm profile, 
sleep sets it adrift. 

He sought his beautiful body 
and found his opened blood. 

Do not say I have to see it! 

I do not want to feel the flow 
lose strength with every beat. 

The flow which lights 
the cheapest seats and spills 
on the corduroy and leather 
of the thirsting crowd. 

Who shouts at me and beckons? 
Do not say I have to see it! 

His eyes did not close 
when he saw the horns close in, 
but the wild mothers 



Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

levantaron la cabeza. 

Y a traves de las ganaderlas 
hubo un aire de voces secretas, 
que gritaban a toros celestes 
mayorales de palida niebla. 

No hubo principe en Sevilla 
que compararsele pueda, 
ni espada como su espada 
ni corazon tan de veras. 

Como un rio de leones 
su maravillosa fuerza, 
y como un torso de marmol 
su dibujada prudencia. 

Aire de Roma andaluza 
le doraba la cabeza 
donde su risa era un nardo 
de sal y de inteligencia. 
jQue gran torero en la plaza! 
jQue buen serrano en la sierra! 
jQue blando con las espigas! 
jQue duro con las espuelas! 
jQue tierno con el rocio! 
jQue deslumbrante en la feria! 
jQue tremendo con las ultimas 
banderillas de tiniebla! 

Pero ya duerme sin fin. 

Ya los musgos y la hierba 
abren con dedos seguros 
la flor de su calavera. 

Y su sangre ya viene cantando: 
cantando por marismas y praderas, 
resbalando por cuernos ateridos, 
vacilando sin alma por la niebla, 
tropezando con miles de pezunas, 
como una larga, oscura, triste lengua, 
para formar un charco de agonia 
junto al Guadalquivir de las estrellas. 



La men t fo r Ignacio Sa nchez Mejias 163 

raised their heads. 

And from the ranches 
a stir of secret voices rose 
calling out to celestial bulls, 
masters of pale mist. 

No prince in Seville 
could compare with him, 
no sword was like his sword, 
no heart so true. 

His strength was a marvel, 
like a river of lions, 
his measured bearing 
like a marble torso. 

An air of Rome in Andalusia 
hung gold about his head, 
his laugh a spikenard 
of intelligence and wit. 

What a fighter in the ring! 

What a mountain man in the hills! 

How gentle with the corn! 

How harsh with the spur! 

How tender with the dew! 

How dazzling at the fair! 

How tremendous with the final 
banderillas of the dark! 

But now he sleeps for ever. 

Now mosses and grass 
open with sure fingers 
the flower of his skull. 

Now his blood comes singing, 
singing through marsh and meadow, 
sliding down rigid horns, 
faltering soulless through mist, 
stamped by a thousand hooves 
like a long dark sad tongue 
becoming a pool of agony 
by the Guadalquivir of stars. 



Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

jOh bianco muro de Espana! 
jOh negro toro de pena! 
jOh sangre dura de Ignacio! 
jOh ruisenor de sus venas! 

No. 

jQue no quiero verla! 

Que no hay caliz que la contenga, 
que no hay golondrinas que se la beban, 
no hay escarcha de luz que la enfrie, 
no hay canto ni diluvio de azucenas, 
no hay cristal que la cubra de plata. 

No. 

jjYo no quiero verla!! 


3. Cuerpo presente 

La piedra es una frente donde los sueiios gimen 
sin tener agua curva ni cipreses helados. 

La piedra es una espalda para llevar al tiempo 
con arboles de lagrimas y cintas y planetas. 

Yo he visto lluvias grises correr hacia las olas 
levantando sus tiernos brazos acribillados, 
para no ser cazadas por la piedra tendida 
que desata sus miembros sin empapar la sangre. 

Porque la piedra coge simientes y nublados, 
esqueletos de alondras y lobos de penumbra; 
pero no da sonidos, ni cristales, ni fuego, 
sino plazas y plazas y otras plazas sin muros. 

Ya esta sobre la piedra Ignacio el bien nacido. 
Ya se acabo. jQue pasa! jContemplad su figura! 
La muerte lo ha cubierto de palidos azufres 
y le ha puesto cabeza de oscuro minotauro. 

Ya se acabo. La lluvia penetra por su boca. 

El aire como loco deja su pecho hundido. 



Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 165 

O white wall of Spain! 

Black bull of sorrow! 

Ignacio’s hardened blood! 

0 nightingale of his veins! 

No. 

1 will not see it! 

There’s no chalice can hold it, 
no swallow drink it, 
no frost of light chill it, 
no song nor deluge of lilies, 
there’s no glass can silver it. 

No. 

I will not see it! 


3. The Body Laid Out 

Stone is a forehead where dreams moan, 
devoid of curved water, frozen cypress. 

Stone is a shoulder to carry time 

with trees of tears and ribbons and planets. 

I’ve seen grey rains scud toward the waves 
raising tender brittle arms to avoid 
the stone laid out in traps, 
loosening limbs, refusing blood. 

Stone gathers seeds and clouds, 

larks’ skeletons and twilight wolves, 

but gives out no sound, no crystal, no fire, 

only bull-rings, bull-rings, more bull-rings without walls. 

Now well-born Ignacio lies on stone. 

It is finished. What is happening? Look at him. 

Death has covered him with pale sulphur 
and given him the head of a dark Minotaur.* 

It is finished. Rain rinses his mouth. 

Frenzied air abandons his sunken chest, 



Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

y el Amor, empapado con lagrimas de nieve, 
se calienta en la cumbre de las ganaderlas. 

,;Que dicen? Un silencio con hedores reposa. 
Estamos con un cuerpo presente que se esfuma, 
con una forma clara que tuvo ruisenores 
y la vemos llenarse de agujeros sin fondo. 

iQuien arruga el sudario? jNo es verdad lo que dice! 
Aqui no canta nadie, ni llora en el rincon, 
ni pica las espuelas, ni espanta la serpiente: 
aqui no quiero mas que los ojos redondos 
para ver ese cuerpo sin posible descanso. 

Yo quiero ver aqui los hombres de voz dura. 

Los que doman caballos y dominan los rios: 
los hombres que les suena el esqueleto y cantan 
con una boca llena de sol y pedernales. 

Aqui quiero yo verlos. Delante de la piedra. 

Delante de este cuerpo con las riendas quebradas. 
Yo quiero que me ensenen donde esta la salida 
para este capitan atado por la muerte. 

Yo quiero que me ensenen un llanto como un rio 
que tenga dulces nieblas y profundas orillas, 
para llevar el cuerpo de Ignacio y que se pierda 
sin escuchar el doble resuello de los toros. 

Que se pierda en la plaza redonda de la luna 
que finge cuando nina doliente res inmovil; 
que se pierda en la noche sin canto de los peces 
y en la maleza blanca del humo congelado. 

No quiero que le tapen la cara con panuelos 
para que se acostumbre con la muerte que lleva. 
Vete, Ignacio: No sientas el caliente bramido. 
Duerme, vuela, reposa: jTambien se muere el mar! 



Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

and Love, drenched with tears of snow, 
warms itself among the cattle on the heights. 

What are they saying? A stinking silence settles. 

We are here with a body fading, 
a noble form once full of nightingales 
we now see filling with bottomless holes. 

Who is crumpling the shroud? What he says is not true! 
Here no one sings or weeps in corners, 
or pricks their spurs, or startles snakes. 

Here I want only wide-open eyes 
to see this body which can never rest. 

I want to see here strong-voiced men, 
men who tame horses, subdue rivers, 
men whose skeletons sound, who sing 
from mouths packed full with sun and flint. 

Here is where I want to see them. Before the stone. 
Before this broken-reined body. 

I want them to show me the way out 
for this captain pinioned by death. 

I want them to teach me to weep like a river 
of soft mists and steep banks to bear away 
Ignacio’s body, let him go 
without the bulls’ double snorting in his ears. 

Let him disappear into the round bull-ring 
of the little-girl moon feigning a pained still beast. 

Let him go into the fishes’ songless night, 
into the white scrub of frozen smoke. 

I do not want them to hide his face with handkerchiefs 
to get him used to bearing death. 

Go now Ignacio. Do not endure the hot bellowing. 
Sleep, soar, rest. The sea also dies! 



Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 


4. Alma ausente 

No te conoce el toro ni la higuera, 
ni caballos ni hormigas de tu casa. 

No te conoce el nino ni la tarde 
porque te has muerto para siempre. 

No te conoce el lomo de la piedra, 
ni el raso negro donde te destrozas. 

No te conoce tu recuerdo mudo 
porque te has muerto para siempre. 

El Otono vendra con caracolas, 
uva de niebla y montes agrupados, 
pero nadie querra mirar tus ojos 
porque te has muerto para siempre. 

Porque te has muerto para siempre, 
como todos los muertos de la Tierra, 
como todos los muertos que se olvidan 
en un monton de perros apagados. 

No te conoce nadie. No. Pero yo te canto. 

Yo canto para luego tu perfil y tu gracia. 

La madurez insigne de tu conocimiento. 

Tu apetencia de muerte y el gusto de su boca. 
La tristeza que tuvo tu valiente alegria. 

Tardara mucho tiempo en nacer, si es que nace, 
un andaluz tan claro, tan rico de aventura. 

Yo canto su elegancia con palabras que gimen 
y recuerdo una brisa triste por los olivos. 



Lamen t for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 


169 


4. Absent Soul 

The bull does not know you, nor the fig, 
nor horses, nor the ants of your house. 

The child does not know you, nor the afternoon, 
because you have died for ever. 

The back of the stone slab does not know you, 
nor the black satin where you fragment. 

Your silent remembrance does not know you 
because you have died for ever. 

Autumn will return with conches, 
misted grapes and clustering hills, 
but no one will want to look in your eyes 
because you have died for ever. 

Because you have died for ever 
like all the dead of the Earth, 
like all the dead forgotten 
on the heaped-up corpses of dogs. 

No one knows you. But I sing you, 
sing your profile and grace for later. 

Your peerless judgement. 

Your embracing of death, the taste of its kiss. 
The sadness within your courageous joy. 

Not soon, perhaps not ever, will there be 
so certain an Andalusian, or so daring. 

I sing his elegance in a lament of words 
and remember a sad breeze among the olives. 



From Sonet os del amor oscaro 


El poeta habla por telefono con el amor 

Tu voz rego la duna de mi pecho 
en la dulce cabina de madera. 

Por el sur de mis pies fue primavera 
y al norte de mi frente flor de helecho. 

Pino de luz por el espacio estrecho 
canto sin alborada y sementera 
y mi llanto prendio por vez primera 
coronas de esperanza por el techo. 

Dulce y lejana voz por mi vertida, 
dulce y lejana voz por mi gustada, 
lejana y dulce voz amortecida, 

lejana como oscura corza herida, 
dulce como un sollozo en la nevada, 
jlejana y dulce, en tuetano metida! 


‘jAy voz secreta del amor oscuroP 

jAy voz secreta del amor oscuro! 
jAy balido sin lanas! jAy herida! 
jAy aguja de hiel, camelia hundida! 
jAy corriente sin mar, ciudad sin muro! 

jAy noche inmensa de perfil seguro, 
montana celestial de angustia erguida! 
jAy perro en corazon!, voz perseguida, 
silencio sin confin, lirio maduro. 

Huye de mi, caliente voz de hielo, 
no me quieras perder en la maleza 
donde sin fruto gimen carne y cielo. 



From Sonnets of Dark Love 


The Poet Speaks to his Love on the Telephone 

In its sweet housing of wood 
your voice watered the sand-dune of my heart. 

To the south of my feet it was Spring, 
north of my brow bracken in flower. 

Down tight space a pine tree of light 
sang without dawn or seedbed, 
and for the first time my lament 
strung crowns of hope across the roof. 

Sweet distant voice poured for me. 

Sweet distant voice savoured by me. 

Sweet distant voice, dying away. 

Distant as a dark wounded doe. 

Sweet as a sob in snow. 

Sweet and distant, in the very marrow! 


‘Ay, Secret Voice of Dark Love’ 

Ay, secret voice of dark love, 
fleeceless bleating — wound! 

Needle of bitterness, fallen camellia, 
current without sea, city without walls! 

Immense night of firm profile, 
celestial mountain tall with anguish! 

Dog in the heart, hounded voice, 
silence unbounded, full-blown lily! 

Leave me, hot voice of ice, 
don’t let me lose my way in the scrub, 
among the laments of barren flesh and sky. 



172 


Sonetos del amor oscuro 


Deja el duro marfil de mi cabeza, 
apiadate de mi, jrompe mi duelo!, 
jque soy amor, que soy naturaleza! 

El amor duerme en el pecho del poeta 

Tu nunca entenderas lo que te quiero, 
porque duermes en mi y estas dormido. 

Yo te oculto llorando, perseguido 
por una voz de penetrante acero. 

Norma que agita igual carne y lucero 
traspasa ya mi pecho dolorido, 
y las turbias palabras han mordido 
las alas de tu espiritu severo. 

Grupo de gente salta en los jardines 
esperando tu cuerpo y mi agonia 
en caballos de luz y verdes crines. 

Pero sigue durmiendo, vida mia. 
jOye mi sangre rota en los violines! 
jMira que nos acechan todavia! 


Noche del amor insomne 

Noche arriba los dos, con luna llena, 
yo me puse a llorar y tu reias. 

Tu desden era un dios, las quejas mias 
momentos y palomas en cadena. 

Noche abajo los dos. Cristal de pena 
llorabas tu por hondas lejanias. 

Mi dolor era un grupo de agonias 
sobre tu debil corazon de arena. 



Sonnets of Dark Love 

Spare my head’s hard ivory, 
stop my pain, have mercy! 

For I am love, I am nature! 


The Lover Asleep on the Poet’s Breast 

You’ll never understand how much I love you 
because you sleep and are asleep in me. 

In tears I conceal you, pursued 
by a voice of penetrating steel. 

Rule that prods flesh and morning star alike 
now pierces my pained breast 
and the wings of your stern soul 
have been gored by troubled words. 

In the gardens waiting people leap 
expecting your body and my pain 
on horses of light with green manes. 

But, my life, sleep on. 

Hear my ruined blood in the violins! 

They follow us, biding their time! 


Night of Sleepless Love 

The night above. We two. Full moon. 

I started to weep, you laughed. 

Your scorn was a god, my laments 
moments and doves in a chain. 

The night below. We two. Crystal of pain. 
You wept over great distances. 

My ache was a clutch of agonies 
over your sickly heart of sand. 



Sonetos del amor oscuro 

La aurora nos unio sobre la cama, 
las bocas puestas sobre el chorro helado 
de una sangre sin fin que se derrama. 

Y el sol entro por el balcon cerrado 
y el coral de la vida abrio su rama 
sobre mi corazon amortajado. 



Sonnets of Dark Love 

Dawn married us on the bed, 
our mouths to the frozen spout 
of unstaunched blood. 

The sun came through the shuttered balcony 
and the coral of life opened its branches 
over my shrouded heart. 



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EXPLANATORY NOTES 


Book of Poems 

First published in Madrid in 1921 by Gabriel Garcia Maroto. The printer was 
a friend of Lorca’s and the costs of the edition were met by the poet’s father. 
According to the dates supplied for each of the poems they were written 
between April 1918 and December 1920, although they do not appear in 
chronological order in the text. 

Autumn Song 

5 Babel, according to Genesis, after the Flood, men spoke a single language 
and lived on the plain of Senaar in Babylon. Moved by the desire for 
power they planned to construct a city with a tower that would reach 
Fleaven, but God punished them for such an arrogant enterprise by con- 
fusing their language so that they could not understand each other. The 
city was never completed and took the name of Babel. 

Minor Song 

The images of the nightingale and the fountain are common in the turn of 
the century brand of poetry cultivated in Spain and Latin America known as 

modernismo. 

7 Cyrano', a character in a neo-Romantic comedy by Edmond Rostand 
(1868—1918), loosely based on the life of the French soldier, poet, and 
philosopher Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-55). He was in love with 
his cousin Roxanne but believed himself to be too ugly to court her, 
mainly on account of his enormous nose. 

Don Quixote : the eponymous hero of a novel by Miguel de Cervantes 
(1547-1616) whose reason was overcome as a result of reading novels of 
chivalry. 

Sad Ballad 

This poem is largely constructed from fragments of phrases from children’s 
songs and games from all over Spain. The details are exhaustively detailed in 
Ian Gibson, ‘Lorca’s Balada triste: Children’s Songs and the Theme of Sexual 
Disharmony in Libro de Poemas\ Bulletin of Hispanic Studies , 46 (1969), 21-38. 

11 Pegasus: a mythical winged horse, the son of Poseidon and Medusa. 

Elegy 

13 Dionysian: in ancient Greece, Dionysus was the god of vegetation, fertility, 
wine, intoxication, and even frenzy, music, and drama. He was worshipped 
by women in rites of an orgiastic nature, which included tearing an animal 
to pieces. 



178 Notes to Pages 13-38 

13 Ceres : ancient Roman goddess of the earth. She protected the fertility of 
crops and the dead. 

15 Black swan: the swan is another common image in modernist a poetry. 

Ines: Christian virgin and martyr whose cult was very popular in Rome. 
Commonly represented with a lamb, an allusion to her purity and her 
name (agnus = lamb). 

Cecilia : one of the most venerated martyrs in the early Roman Church. 
She is frequently represented as playing the organ, and is the patron saint 
of music. 

Clara (1193/4—1253): inspired by the teaching of St Francis of Assisi this 
saint gave up all her possessions and founded a religious order known as 
the Poor Clares. 

Spring Song 

In this poem, as in the earlier ‘Minor Song’, the theme of nostalgia for a lost 
childhood is implicit in the way in which the poet ruefully notes his distance 
from the children mentioned in the poems. 

Ballad of the Little Square 

The idea of the separation of the poet from the experience of childhood, pres- 
ent in ‘Spring Song’ and ‘Minor Song’, is given a more dramatic rendering in 
this poem on account of its dialogue form. 

The Billy Goat 

35 Don Juan: a legendary profligate who has been interpreted down the 
centuries as the epitome of the seducer. One of the earliest literary mani- 
festations of this figure was Don Juan Tenorio in E! burlador de Sevilla 
( The Trickster of Seville ) by the seventeenth-century Spanish playwright 
Tirso de Molina ( 1584? — 1 648). 

Mephistophelean: Mephistopheles was a familiar spirit of the devil in later 
settings of the legend of Faust. 

Pan: in Greek mythology, a fertility deity more or less bestial in form. 
Pan was generally regarded as vigorous and lustful, having the horns, 
legs, and ears of a goat. 

37 Philommedes: mentioned in Hesiod’s Theogany, Philommedes is an 
alternative name for Aphrodite, and connotes ‘lover of genitals’. She is 
supposed to have been born from Uranus’ genitals, which had been 
hacked off and thrown into the sea. 

Anacreon: Greek poet of the sixth century bc. Famous for his epigrams 
and erotic poetry, he was renowned as a pleasure-seeker. 

Suites 

Lorca conceived the idea of writing groups of poems as suites towards the end 
of 1920 when he was composing the final poems of Libro de poemas. He worked 



i 7 9 


Notes to Pages 39-71 

assiduously on his Suites until 1923, frequently mentioning their forthcoming 
publication in letters. The intention was to publish them as part of a threefold 
project that was also to include Poema del cante jondo and Canciones. Yet only a 
handful of the suites appeared in Lorca’s lifetime; it was in 1983 that a version 
reconstructed by Andre Belamich was published (Madrid: Ariel). 

Sesame 

41 Narcissus : in Greek mythology, a handsome youth who was so obsessed 
with his own beauty that he was oblivious of the love of the nymph Echo. 
He became enamoured with his own image reflected in the waters of a 
well, and died of anguish because he could not reach it. He was trans- 
formed into a flower of the same name. 

In the Garden of Lunar Grapefruit 

47 Don Carlos the Pretender. Carlos Luis de Borbon (1818 — 61) was given the 
mantle of Carlist pretender by his father, Don Carlos, Conde de Molina, 
in 1845. He made two unsuccessful attempts to seize the Spanish throne. 

Poem of the Cante Jondo 

Conceived in the summer of 1921, the bulk of the poems that make up this col- 
lection were written in November of the same year, coinciding with Lorca’s 
interest in flamenco and his involvement in the preparations for the cante jondo 
festival in Granada in the following summer. It was not until May 1931 that 
the book was finally published (Madrid: Ulises), with the addition of some new 
material. 

Dancing the Siguiriya 

A phonetic deformation of seguidilla, siguiriya is one of the basic forms of cante 
jondo. 

The Solea 

Soled', a contraction of soledad (solitude). Together with the siguiriya it com- 
prises the most profound of the cante jondo forms, and is characterized by 
passionate lament. 

Bowmen 

67 Guadalquivir, the name given by the Arabs to the river known to the 
Romans as Betis. One of the largest rivers in Spain, it flows into the 
Atlantic Ocean beyond Seville. 

Procession 

71 Merlins'. Merlin was a legendary magician and wise man, attached to the 
court of King Arthur. 

Ecce Homo', literally ‘Behold the man’ — an exhortation to contemplate 
Christ on the Cross. 



180 Notes to Pages 71-87 

71 Durandarte: a character in Spanish versions of French Carolingian 
romances. It was originally the name that Roland gave to his sword. There 
is an allusion to Durandarte in the episode of Montesinos’s cave in Don 
Quixote. 

73 Orlando furioso: the eponymous hero of an epic poem by Ariosto, who was 
driven mad by amatory jealousy. He is also mentioned in Don Quixote. 

Saeta 

See Introduction, p. xv. 

73 See where he comes!: a phrase found in many traditional saetas, alluding to 
the appearance of Christ bearing the Cross. 

Songs 

It is probable that Lorca did not contemplate writing a book to be entitled 
Canciones until 1926, though the bulk of the ninety poems that comprise this 
collection had been written by that date. Indeed, in one of his letters Lorca 
suggests that seventy of these poems were written between 1921 and 1923, but 
even if that were to be strictly true, the poems were subjected to careful revi- 
sion in the following years, while the tasks of organization and ordering were 
only undertaken shortly before the eventual publication date of May 1927 
(Malaga: Litoral). 

Nocturnes at the Window 

The structure of the opening section of this poem with its binary formulations 
is typical of many poems in Songs. See D. Gareth Walters, Canciones and the 
Early Poetry of Lorca : A Study in Critical Methodology and Poetic Maturity 
(Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2002), 25-30. 

Verlaine 

The subject of this poem is the French poet Verlaine (1844-96) whose liaison 
with the poet Arthur Rimbaud was a source of scandal. 

Bacchus 

The subject of this poem is the Latin god Bacchus (another name for 
Dionysus; see note to ‘Elegy’ above). 

Juan Ramon Jimenez 

The subject of this poem is the Spanish poet Jimenez (1881-1956) whose 
work is informed by the aesthetic ideal. 

Venus 

The subject of this poem is Venus, the Roman goddess of love, originally a 
goddess of the Spring who protected vines and gardens, and later identified 
with the Greek goddess Aphrodite. 



Notes to Pages 87-125 


181 


Debussy 

The subject of this poem is the French composer Debussy (1862—1918) whose 
work is regarded as the musical equivalent of Impressionism. Several com- 
positions of his were inspired by the movement of water. 

Narcissus 

The subject of this poem is Narcissus, the youth discussed in the note to 
‘Sesame’ above. 

The Moon Appears 

The moon is perhaps Lorca’s commonest image and symbol, variously suggest- 
ive of mystery, fate, and death. 

Light Madrigal 

The diminutive form of ‘madrigal’ in the Spanish text (‘Madrigalillo’) suggests 
an element of mockery or even parody. 

Gypsy Ballads 

As with Canciones the poems that appear in Romacero gitano cover several 
years. The earliest was written at the end of 1921 but the majority of the eight- 
een poems that make up the collection were written much later: ten ballads 
were published individually between 1926 and 1928 prior to the publication of 
the first edition in July 1928 (Madrid: Revista de Occidente). 

Ballad of the Moon , the Moon 

107 forge . . . anvil : gypsies were commonly associated with the trade in 
horses, hence the allusions to the forge and anvil. 

barn-owl', a portent of death in Andalusia as elsewhere. 

Dreamwalker Ballad 

1 13 Civil Guards', a rural paramilitary police force founded in 1842, and the 
traditional enemy of the Gypsies. They were accustomed to patrolling in 
pairs. 

The Gypsy Nun 

1 1 5 five wounds of Christ', the making of crystallized fruit was a common occu- 
pation of nuns in Andalusia and many of these sweets bore such religious 
names. 

Dead from Love 

123 St George : the patron saint of soldiers. Here the allusion is to the fury he 
displayed in his legendary slaying of the dragon. 

125 azure telegrams', telegrams were printed on blue paper in Spain. 



1 82 Notes to Pages i2y~igi 

Poet in New York 

Written during the period Lorca spent in New York in 1929—30, the poems 
were published posthumously, appearing in two differing editions in succes- 
sive months in 1940 (New York: Norton; Mexico City: Seneca). These edi- 
tions vary in their canon, text, and order, and there is no consensus as to which 
better represents the poet’s final intentions. In 1932 Lorca prepared a lecture- 
recital of poems from the collection, but continued to change his mind about 
the organization of the collection. 

Cry to Rome 

137 the man dressed in white', an allusion to Pope Pius XI. See Introduction, 
p. xxi. 

Blacks in Cuba , Their Son 

The Son is a Cuban song of African origin. 

141 Fonseca . . . Romeo and Juliet', references to the names and illustrations on 
the covers of cigar boxes. 

Earth and Moon 

In mid-1933 Lorca was working towards a collection entitled Tierra y Luna , 
including poems written as much as four years earlier and coinciding 
with his period in New York. Little Infinite Poem bears the date of 10 January 
1930. 


The Tamarit Divan 

Lorca started work on this collection in the summer of 1931 but most of the 
poems were written in the spring and summer of 1934. The book was initially 
destined for publication by the University of Granada, Lorca’s home univer- 
sity, but for reasons that are unknown the edition never appeared. With the 
outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 the project was abandoned, and the 
work eventually appeared in a special issue of Revista Hispdnica Moderna (New 
York, 1940). The term ‘Divan’ comes from the Persian ditvan , meaning ‘col- 
lection’ or ‘anthology’. Lorca is less precise, however, about the use of the two 
terms employed as titles for the poems in this collection, and evidently uses the 
words in a purely evocative fashion The qasida refers to a fairly long poem 
with a single rhyme, while the ghazal is a short poem of between four and 
fifteen lines, normally of an erotic nature. 

Ghazal of the Morning Marketplace 

151 Elvira’s Arch', the gate that leads into the Gypsy, formerly the Moorish, 
quarter of the Albaicin in Granada. 



Notes to Pages 153—175 183 

Six Galician Poems 

The poems that make up this tiny collection were written between 1932 and 
1934, Lorca having visited Galicia three times in the earlier of these years. It 
was published in Santiago de Compostela at the end of 1935 (Editorial Nos). 

Cradle Song for Rosalia de Castro , Dead 

155 Santiago : Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, and renowned 
as a place of pilgrimage because the bones of the Apostle James were 
supposedly found there. 

Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 

Lorca’s poetic response to the death of Mejias (see Introduction, p. xxii) was 
immediate. The poem was completed within three months of the bullfighter’s 
death in August 1934, and published in Madrid (Cruz y Raya: Ediciones del 
Arbol) in the March or April of the following year. 

157 the bull alone elated', a phrase that uncannily anticipates a dominant detail 
of Picasso’s Guernica , painted in response to the bombing of the Basque 
town of that name during the Spanish Civil War. 

161 the bulls of Guisando: an allusion to Iberian sculptures near Avila of four 
animals presumed to be bulls, and possibly associated with an ancient cult 
of the animal. 

165 Minotaur, in Greek mythology a creature, half-bull, half-man, that guarded 
the labyrinth at Minos. 

Sonnets of Dark Love 

These poems were written mainly in the autumn of 1935. The surviving texts 
are first drafts; it seems likely that later versions have been lost. Many of the 
eleven poems that make up the cycle remained unpublished until December 
1983 when they were printed, probably in Madrid, by the bibliophile Victor 
Infantes in an anonymous limited edition unauthorized by the poet’s family. 



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INDEX OF TITLES 


After Passing By 53 

Aire de nocturno 16 

A1 oido de una muchacha 88 

Alba 64 

amor duerme en el pecho del poeta, El 172 

And After 55 

Another Song 31 

Another Way 103 

Arqueros 66 

Autumn Song 3 

jAy! 58 

Ay! 59 

Bacchus 85 

Baco 84 

Balada de la placeta 22 

balada del agua del mar, La 26 

Balada triste 8 

Balcon 72 

Balcony 73 

Ballad of the Little Square 23 

Ballad of the Moon, the Moon 107 

Betrothal 97 

Billy Goat, The 33 

Blacks in Cuba, their Son 141 

Bowmen 67 

Cancion bajo lagrimas 40 

Cancion con reflejo 38 

Cancion de jinete 80 

Cancion de noviembre y abril 102 

Cancion del naranjo seco 104 

Cancion menor 6 

Cancion otonal 2 

Cancion primaveral 18 

Cancion tonta 80 

Canzon de cuna pra Rosalia Castro, morta 152 

Capture of Antonito el Camborio on the Seville Road 117 

Casida V Del sueno al aire libre 146 

Casida VIII De la muchacha dorada 148 

Cave 63 

Cradle Song for Rosalia Castro, Dead 153 

Crossroads 59 

Crucifixion 133 



1 86 


Index of Titles 


Crucifixion 132 

Cry to Rome 137 

Cueva 62 

Dagger 57 

Dancing the Siguiriya 53 

Dawn (‘But like love’s/ arrows . . .’) 73 

Dawn (‘Cordoba bells/at daybreak . . .’) 65 

De otro modo 102 

Dead from Love 123 

Death of Antonito el Camborio 119 

Debussy 86, 87 

Delirio 44 

Delirium 45 

Despedida 98 

Desposorio 96 

Despues de pasar 52 

Dream (‘I rode astride . . .’) 29 

Dream (‘My heart rests beside . . .’) 21 

Dream walker Ballad 109 

Elegia 12 

Elegy 13 

En el instituto y en la universidad 98 

En el jardin de las toronjas de luna 44 

Encrucijada 58 

Encuentro 64 

jEs verdad! 82 

First Anniversary 93 

Fishermen 43 

Float, Holy Week 71 

Foolish Song 81 

Gacela del Mercado matutino 150 

Gacela IX Del amor maravilloso 146 

Ghazal IX Of Marvellous Love 147 

Ghazal of the Morning Marketplace 1 5 1 

Grito hacia Roma 136 

grito, El 50 

Guitar, The 49 

guitarra, La 48 

Gypsy Nun, The 1 13 

He Died at Dawn 91 

Horizon 43 

Horizonte 42 

Horseman’s Song 81 

In a Girl’s Ear 89 

In the Garden of Lunar Grapefruit 45 

In the Institute and in the University 99 

It’s true! 83 

Juan Ramon Jimenez 84, 85 



Index of Titles 


King of Harlem, The 127 

Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 1 57 

Landscape 49 

Landscape without Song 43 

Light Madrigal 101 

Little Infinite Poem 145 

Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias 156 

Lover Asleep on the Poet’s Breast, The 173 

Lucia Martinez 94, 95 

luna asoma, La 90 

macho cabrio, El 32 

Madrigalillo 100 

Madrugada 72 

Malaise and Night 95 

Malestar y noche 94 

Meeting 65 

Minor Song 7 

monja gitana, La 112 

Moon Appears, The 91 

Muerte de Antonito el Camborio 1 1 8 

Muerto de amor 122 

Murio al amanecer 90 

Narciso 88 

Narcissus 89 

Night 67 

Night of Sleepless Love 173 

Noche 66 

Noche del amor insomne 172 

Nocturnal Air 17 

Nocturnes at the Window 77 

Nocturnos de la ventana 76 

Otra cancion 30 

Paisa je 48 

Paisaje sin cancion 42 

Parched Land 55 

Parting 99 

Paso 70 

paso de la Siguiriya, El 52 

Pequeno poema infinito 144 

Pescadores 42 

Poet Speaks to his Love on the Telephone, The 17 1 

poeta habla por telefono con el amor, El 170 

Prelude 101 

Preludio 100 

Prendimiento de Antonito el Camborio en el camino de Sevilla 1 1 6 
Primer aniversario 92 

Procesion 70 

Procession 7 1 



Index of Titles 


Pueblo 

56 

Punal 

56 

Qasida V Of the Open-Air Dream 

147 

Qasida VIII Of the Golden Girl 

149 

rey de Harlem, El 

126 

Romance de la luna, luna 

106 

Romance of Our Lady of the Boat 

153 

Romance sonambulo 

108 

Romaxe de Nosa Senora da Barca 

! 5 2 

Sad Ballad 

9 

Saeta 

70 

Saeta 

7 1 

Seawater Ballad 

2 7 

Second Anniversary 

93 

Segundo aniversario 

9 2 

Sesame 

4i 

Sesamo 

40 

Sevilla 

68 

Seville 

69 

Shout, The 

5i 

Silence, The 

S3 

silencio, El 

5 2 

Solea, La 

60 

Soled , The 

61 

soltera en misa, La 

94 

Son de negros en Cuba 

140 

Song beneath Tears 

4 1 

Song of November and April 

103 

Song of the Dry Orange Tree 

i°5 

Song with Reflection 

39 

Sorpresa 

60 

Spinster at Mass, The 

95 

Spring Song 

19 

Sueno (‘Iba yo montado sobre . . .’) 

28 

Sueno (‘Mi corazon reposa junto . . .’) 

20 

Surprise 

61 

Tierra seca 

54 

Town 

57 

Venus 

86, 87 

Verlaine 

82, 83 

Y despues 

54 



INDEX OF FIRST LINES 


A Calvary 57 

A las cinco de la tarde 156 

A sun without rays 43 

Abejaruco 94 

Alta va la luna 76 

Among black butterflies 53 

Antonio Torres Heredia 116,117 

Apples with flesh-wounds 137 

As soon as there’s a full moon, I’ll go to Santiago, Cuba 14 1 

Asi te vi 86 

At five in the afternoon 157 

jAy que trabajo me cuesta 82 

l Ay ruada, ruada, ruada 152 

jAy voz secreta del amor oscuro! 170 

Ay, secret voice of dark love 1 7 1 

Bajo el moises del incienso 94 

Bee-eater 95 

Beneath the cradle of incense 95 

Blue sky 43 

But like love’s 73 

Campanas de Cordoba 64 

Cantan los ninos 22 

Child! 89 

Cielo azul 42 

Cirio, candil 66 

Como un incensario lleno de deseos 12 

Con todo el yeso 146 

Con una cuchara 126 

Cordoba 80, 81 

Cordoba bells 65 

Cristo Moreno 70 

Cuando llegue la luna llena ire a Santiago de Cuba 140 

Cuando sale la luna 90 

Cuatro granados 100 

Dark Christ 71 

De la cueva salen 62 

Dewdrops 7 

Disuelta la tarde 44 

Down alleyways 71 

Dressed in black cloaks 61 

East wind 59 

El arbol gigantesco 42 

El campo 48 



190 Index of First Lines 

El cielo nublado 102 

El grito deja en el viento 58 

El mar 26 

El punal 56 

El rebano de cabras ha pasado 32 

El reflejo 40 

jEl sueno se deshizo para siempre! 30 

Empieza el llanto 48 

En aquel sitio 40 

En el bianco infinito 84 

En la pradera bailaba 38 

Entre mariposas negras 52 

Equivocar el camino 144 

jErguete , mina amiga 152 

Flor de jazmin y toro degollado 146 

Four pomegranate trees 10 1 

Fragmented evening 45 

From the cave 63 

Green how I want you green 109 

Green murmur, intact 85 

Happy children emerge 19 

He lay in the street, dead 61 

Hoy siento en el corazon 2 

I didn’t want to 89 

I rode astride 29 

I saw you thus 87 

I’m petrified 17 

I’ve said goodbye to the friends ... 45 

Iba yo montado sobre 28 

If I die 99 

In its sweet housing of wood 171 

In that place 41 

In the end the moon could stay on the horses’ 

blinding white curve 133 

In the infinite white 85 

In the meadow 39 

In the still night 23 

Jasmine bloom and butchered bull 147 

La cancion 82 

La elipse de un grito 50 

La hoguera pone al campo de la tarde 102 

La Lola 72 

La luna clava en el mar 92 

La luna pudo detenerse al fin por la curva blanquisima 

de los caballos 132 

La luna vino a la fragua 106 

La muchacha dorada 148 

La nina va por mi frente 92 



Index of First Lines 


La primera vez 

98 

Lamp, candle 

67 

Las alamedas se van 

100 

Lenador 

104 

Like a censer filled with desires 

13 

Lola 

73 

Los arqueros oscuros 

66 

Los laberintos 

54 

Los ninos miran 

5 2 

Lucia Martinez 

94' 95 

Mama 

80 

Mama 

81 

Manazanas levemente heridas 

136 

Me he despedido de los amigos . . . 

44 

jMi corazon es una mariposa 

8 

Mi corazon reposa junto a la fuente fria 

20 

Mi sombra va silenciosa 

86 

Muerto se quedo en la calle 

60 

My child, hear the silence 

53 

My heart rests beside the cool fountain 

21 

My heart’s a butterfly 

9 

My shadow moves silently 

87 

Ni tu ni yo estamos 

64 

Night of four moons 

9i 

Nino 

88 

No quise 

88 

Noche arriba los dos, con luna llena 

172 

Noche de cuatro lunas 

90 

On the evening land the bonfire lays 

i°3 

Oye, hijo mio, el silencio 

5 2 

Parched land 

55 

Pero como el amor 

7 2 

Pilgrimage, pilgrimage! 

153 

Por el arco de Elvira 

150 

Por la calleja vienen 

70 

— <;Que es aquello que reluce 

122 

Rise, sweet friend 

153 

Salen los ninos alegres 

18 

Sevilla es una torre 

68 

Seville is a tower 

69 

Si muero 

98 

Silence of myrtle and lime 

1 13 

Silencio de cal y mirto 

112 

Sobre el monte pelado 

56 

Sobre la verde bruma 

4 2 

Tengo mucho miedo 

16 

The avenues of poplar go 

IOI 

The children watch 

53 



192 


Index of First Lines 


The cloudy sky 

103 

The dagger 

57 

The dark bowmen 

67 

The dream came apart for good! 

31 

The field 

49 

The first time 

99 

The giant tree’s lianas 

43 

The girl passes across my brow 

93 

The golden girl 

149 

The guitar begins 

49 

The herd of goats passed where 

33 

The labyrinths 

55 

The moon came to the forge 

107 

The moon nails to the sea 

93 

The moon rides high 

77 

The night above. We two. Full moon 

173 

The reflection is 

41 

The sea 

2 7 

The shout 

Si 

The shout leaves a cypress shadow 

59 

The song 

83 

Through Elvira ’s Arch 

iSi 

Throw this ring 

97 

Tienen gotas de rocio 

6 

Tierra seca 

54 

Tirad ese anillo 

96 

To take the wrong road 

H 5 

Today in my heart 

3 

Tu nunca entenderas lo que te quiero 

172 

Tu voz rego la duna de mi pecho 

170 

Verde que te quiero verde 

108 

Verde rumor intacto 

84 

Vestida con mantos negros 

60 

Viento del Este 

58 

Virgen con mirinaque 

70 

Virgin with crinoline 

71 

Voces de muerte sonaron 

118 

Voices of death sounded 

119 

‘What is that gleaming 

123 

What it costs me 

83 

When the moon rises 

91 

With a spoon 

127 

With all the gypsum 

147 

Woodsman 

105 

You and 1 

65 

You’ll never understand how much I love you 

i 73